Several months ago, Wilmington Star-News Community Editor Si Cantwell contacted me and asked me to write a letter to be placed in a time capsule as part of the paper’s 150th anniversary celebration. The letter was to be addressed to the chair of the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners in 2067, when the paper will be 200 years old. The time capsule was buried during a ceremony on October 18, at which I was asked to speak. The full text of my letter can be viewed below or by clicking here.
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Full Text of Letter to the 2067 Chair of the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners:
October 18, 2017
To: Chair of the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners for 2067
Dear Mr./Madame Chair:
Congratulations on the opportunity to serve as a Brunswick County Commissioner and, assuming the board is structured in a manner similar to today, as the board chair. I view the opportunity to serve our citizens as a high honor and privilege, a perspective I am sure you and your fellow board members share.
First, I’d like to share a bit about myself. I was born and raised in Brunswick County, and my grandfather, Leo Medlin, served as a Brunswick County Commissioner in the 1950s. Through my childhood and teenage years, Brunswick County was a sleepy, rural county that was largely overshadowed by Wilmington.
After graduating from North Brunswick High School, I attended N.C. State University and lived in Raleigh for 20 years. In 2008, I chose to move home to a fast-growing county that looked remarkably different than the one I left in 1988. When I was born in 1970, Brunswick County’s total population was a mere 24,223. The county’s population had doubled to 50,985 by 1990, when I was a sophomore in college. As I write this letter in 2017, our population likely exceeds 127,000. Brunswick County is now among the fastest growing counties in North Carolina and the entire nation, and all signs indicate that this trend will continue. We are no longer in Wilmington’s shadow, and the county you now lead will likely be casting a formidable shadow of its own when you read this letter.
Earlier this year, my fellow board members and I adopted a long-term vision for Brunswick County. During the course of this project, which was named Brunswick Vision, we conducted extensive public outreach and research to ensure that our citizens had the opportunity to make their voices heard. Brunswick Vision paints a picture that we hope accurately depicts the county in which you now live and serve: visually attractive; relaxed and friendly; safe streets, neighborhoods, and schools; a low tax rate and low cost of doing business; a well-balanced economy; a clean, safe environment; a healthy, well-educated populous; and, a well-prepared, productive workforce.
Make no mistake: we love Brunswick County. In 2017, there is nowhere else I’d rather live; I hope you can say the same in 2067.
As I stated earlier, Brunswick County underwent rapid growth and transformational change during the 20 years I lived in Raleigh. It is highly likely that Brunswick County will continue to see exponential growth and massive change during the 50 years between the time I write this letter and the time you read it.
Change is inevitable, but forgetting our history is not. My challenge to you and your fellow board members is this: take the time to learn about our county’s history and the families who lived and worked here during the decades and centuries when Brunswick County was a sleepy, rural community. Embrace change, lead our county in a way to ensure that the change is for the better, but honor Brunswick County’s heritage as you do so.
Thank you for your service to Brunswick County, and best wishes.
Frank Williams, Chair
Brunswick County Board of Commissioners