I have always enjoyed eating breakfast downtown at the Farmers’ Market. Phil Norton, the owner, and I lived in the same neighborhood for several years and our kids grew up together. People from every level in the political, social, economic and religious world eat there. Senators and sanitation workers might sit next to each other.
There is a large round table in the back corner where I like to sit. Some important and some not so important people eat at that table. If you listen you can learn a lot. It has even been said that so much knowledge is expounded there that you might even learn the name and serial number of the Unknown Soldier!
One interesting person with whom I ate many times was Pat Dozier. He died a couple of weeks ago. There are a lot of stories about Captain Pat. When Mayor Todd Strange heard that I would participate in the funeral, he called me and shared a very interesting story. It fits right into my ministry.
The Committee of 100 in Montgomery was a part of the economic development arm of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. I think it might have been out of this committee that Leadership Montgomery was born.
Twenty-five years ago the Committee of 100 was meeting. The Mayor said that Pat Dozier and Margaret Carpenter offered a skit to the committee. In this skit they began to vision what the downtown area along the river could be. In the skit they talked about different possibilities such as a riverboat, marinas, sporting events, water sports, entertainment, family activities, businesses, etc.
Of course people laughed at them. Twenty-five years ago that was not even on the radar of most people in Montgomery. Pat Dozier had the vision for that.
If you go downtown today, you will see much of that vision that has become reality. Montgomery has one of the finest baseball stadiums anywhere. The amphitheater is a great venue for entertainment and community activities. The riverboat is very popular. The train shed hosts many activities. More family venues and businesses are coming to reality. There are still plans being developed for the river walk from downtown to Maxwell Field.
Twenty-five years ago Pat Dozier had a vision. Today those of us here in Montgomery are enjoying the fruits of that vision.
I have heard a lot of stories about Captain Pat – but that is my favorite. It illustrates that nothing new happens in life until someone has a vision for it. Leaders are people who are visionary and know how to cast a vision for other people and work with them to bring it to reality.
Remember “without a vision the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) Captain Pat – thanks for the fun times around the big round table at the Farmers’ Market and for daring to dream and think outside the box for the riverfront development!