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Grayson speaks at Growth Alliance banquet

February 3, 2014

Community members honored for contributions to city, county

BY MARY GARRISON
editor@dailytimesleader.com

More than just a meal, the 88th annual West Point-Clay County Growth Alliance banquet was a celebration of community and coming home.
Residents gathered Thursday evening in the Community Counseling (Mary Holmes campus) gymnasium to honor those who have been crucial to the growth and development of West Point, as well as welcome some special guests — including keynote speaker Walt Grayson, host of the PBS series "Mississippi Roads."
Grayson, a veteran broadcast journalist, specializes in traveling the backroads and hollows of Mississippi, searching for the things that make each community unique. He shared some of his experiences on the road with attendees during his address Thursday, along with some valuable life lessons he's taken away from those experiences.
"I used to do a feature called the 'Spirit of Mississippi,'" Grayson said. "We did a feature on a woman from Monticello who at 50 years old decided she wanted to change her career path and go back to school for her degree. … She worked hard, went to school and worked the whole time … and not only did she go on to graduate, she graduated with high honors."
Grayson said she had her fair share of doubt, however, and just before she registered for classes she nearly got cold feet. Grayson said she worried about where the path would take her, expressing apprehension about being 54 when she would graduate.
"Her husband said, 'well let me ask you this: if you don't go back, how old will you be in four years?' Grayson said. "'You'll still be 54, without a degree.'"
" … What do we do with that time?" Grayson added. "Time passes, let's pass with it instead of letting it work against us."
Grayson also shared the story of being stuck in a field with a herd of bulls after climbing an electric fence for a show. He said he took lessons away that he often shared with youth groups when speaking to them, most notably: "It's a whole lot easier to stay out of something than to get out of something."

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