Years ago in Bradenton, it wasn't about development and money, but neighbors helping neighbors and raising a family.
My family moved away in 1980. Though we left, my whole family for years felt a sense of loss because of this decision, but we never lost the love of Bradenton and Manatee County. In 2011 my wife and I decided to relocate here along with my two boys. Mostly, because of the American small town life I remembered and often mentioned to my wife and sons.
I have been a bit surprised by the growth I see. This growth is not just more population but I see a push toward more expensive living communities, the need to optimize the area's resources to make money. This is very disturbing.
This is not what I told my wife and boys what we would find here.
Bradenton was a place where, if you worked hard, raised your children with values of humanity and humility, and cared for the less fortunate and ill, you were welcome with open arms. Those values are what we as a community stood for.
I remember a time when the county would send a barge off of Coquina Beach and launch fireworks for all Manatee County citizens. Money and budgets weren't the major concern, family and community were.
We live in a world of division and a country where ideology and personal issues are far more important than a united community.
Perhaps we can start a change. We can make Bradenton the future by going back to our roots and demand the county fight for the people and not the developers.
May God bless us and may we once again become the small town community that we all remember or perhaps some of us desire.