ICAN Banquet

ICAN Banquet

This was the 10th Anniversary of ICAN and the 4th Heroes luncheon. Reverend Lankford gave thanks for the “Sunshine on Souls” and “tasks done with diligence and a willing heart” that contributed to the winning back of the neighborhood. Reverend Penn {{more}} gave the history of ICAN starting with acknowledgement that the neighborhood north of North 6th street to North 18th street to the east of Treadway to Pine Street was a “at risk” neighborhood with drug dealers and prostitutes openly doing business and families afraid to let their children play in their own yards. Mrs. Abar started ICAN by approaching Rev. Penn and others to form groups to solve the problems. The basic premise was “If we ask for help – What are we going to do for ourselves?” The first meeting established goals of 1. Form committees 2. Get a name for the organization 3. Elect officers and 4. Select a spokesperson. Monthly meetings were held to identify problems and find ways to solve them. A continuing goal is to develop resources in the neighborhood and educate all ages in ways to improve their neighborhood. “Neighborhoods in Progress” began in 1977 to build homes for low and moderate income families. A focus on youth established tutoring camps and day care. Membership includes both those in the neighborhood and in all parts of Abilene. Present goals are to improve health, recreation opportunities, employment and conducting Simi-annual clean ups. ICAN heroes are people who have proven able to meet challenges and to achieve works above the expected. Keynote speaker, Mayor Norm Archibald spoke of the people who become Heroes in our lives. One of his were friends in 6th grade and their father, Joe Spears. The kids announced they were going to Texas A&M like their father and Mayor Archibald decided that he would also. The A&M experience changed his life and while preparing to speak to last month’s Aggie Muster, he finally called Mr. Spears to thank him for setting him on the path of his life. He then spoke of reading the book “How to Finish Well” which concludes the significance of your life is helping others. At 45, most people are at the half time of their career. This is the time to figure out what you did well and what you failed at and where do you go now. The first half of your career is trying to succeed but the second half is trying to become a person of significance. He then applauded ICAN by asking “how much better would the world be if we all treated our neighbors like those active in ICAN do?” While assisting at spring cleanup in the recycling center, a young man came in with a pickup loaded with junk. When the Mayor thanked him for cleaning up his yard, the young man replied “it’s not mine, I’m just helping a neighbor.” This young man and many others improve our world by brightening the corner where they are because that’s the one where you are. Mayor Archibald closed with a poem on the essence of compassion asked all to be tender with the young, compassionate with the old, sympathetic with the striving and forgiving of the weak and wrong because some time in your life – you will be all of these. He then asked that each person there “Call a person who has been a hero in your life and thank them. Do it before the sun sets and do not wait until tomorrow.” The 2006 ICAN Hero is the CEO of Southwest Home Health Care, Larry Jones. He was recognized for financial and physical support of the community affairs and benefits. He and his company conduct an annual Health Care Fair that is directly responsible for saving one ladies life when she came in for the free tests. Mr. Jones first comment was the thought that he would never be on that side of the podium thanking people for such recognition. He contributed his success to the work of his staff and support from the community. He then thanked ICAN for working to make north Abilene a safe place for families to live. Rev. Penn closed the meeting with “Until you come out of your comfort zone and get into the streets and take the reins – you can not make a difference.”