Highland Lakes Crisis Network Executive Director Kevin Naumann (sitting, left), board Vice-President Alan Williams, President Jackie English, and Treasurer Bob Rogers (at podium) presented Burnet County commissioners with a resolution outlining the network's community trust initiative during a Nov. 23 meeting in the Burnet County Courthouse. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman
The Highland Lakes Crisis Network is attempting to create and maintain trust in Burnet County communities through a new initiative. Steps toward building trust will be discussed during an upcoming public meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 12. The meeting location has yet to be determined.
The network has been working toward creating a trust-centered initiative since last year, when Vice-President Alan Williams identified a heightened need while observing political and social unrest nationally around the pandemic and issues of race. Some of that trickled down to the Highland Lakes, especially concerning mask and vaccine mandates to help stop the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
“We need to listen to each other,” Williams explained during a Nov. 23 presentation to the Burnet County Commissioners Court. “Listen to the words, the body language, and listen to who we are. I think we’ve lost that art.”
Inspired to work toward unity within his own community, Williams wrote his vision on a napkin, which has become the initiative’s guiding document. The vision outlines three core aspects of the initiative: knowing, listening, and caring for one another.
The network plans to put the vision into action by creating a task force made of representatives from “the seven pillars of society,” network President Jackie English explained. These pillars include local government, business, education, media, entertainment, family, and religious organizations.
Williams hopes establishing a unified vision within Highland Lakes communities will make it easier to maintain as the area population grows.
“New people coming in are either going to change what’s here or, where there is a strong vision of who we are and what we are, they will assimilate,” Williams told county commissioners. “When people come in, they will know this is who we are.”
Support from Local Governments
The public face of the initiative is new, but it has been gaining support from community leaders and members during previously held brainstorming meetings.
Although not a member of the Highland Lakes Crisis Network, Christian Fletcher, executive director of the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp., volunteered to assist with the initiative by writing a resolution outlining initiative goals.
“I suggested to HLCN that a resolution may be the easiest way to get started on gaining the support of public bodies,” he explained in a statement to DailyTrib.com. “Having a reference document is less cumbersome than trying to explain the initiative from the beginning every time someone asks.”
The resolution outlines the collective “desire to create a positive impact on the lives and futures of people.” By adopting the resolution, local governments urge “citizens and stakeholders affirm the community trust initiative.”
With the help of network Executive Director Kevin Naumann and Treasurer Bob Rogers, Williams and English have presented the resolution to local governing bodies, including the Burnet County Commissioners Court.
“I would like to put this on our agenda and vote on it at the next meeting,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley said during the Nov. 23 meeting.
The resolution was also presented during a Nov. 16 Marble Falls City Council meeting. The network will continue to present the resolution to additional governing bodies and organizations throughout the upcoming months.
Fletcher addressed the initiative’s goal of building trust for a stronger future and to prepare for an influx of newcomers.
“(The EDC’s) goal has always been to help Marble Falls become a better version of itself,” Fletcher said. “If the growth that occurs adds more good people, good businesses, and good amenities to our area, then I’m happy. If people who move here recognize and appreciate the culture and values that are important to us, including widespread trust, and want to be a part of that, why wouldn’t we welcome them into the community?”