I have been an elected official since 1987, starting as a Carrollton City Council member, Denton County Justice of the Peace, and now as a county commissioner.
I can truly tell you my desire in all of those positions was to help - help government not get in the way of people and their lives but to provide a resource to ensure safety, protect people and their rights, and ensure that their hard-earned money is returned to them through services that make their lives better.
That’s how I was raised - to help someone else who needed it more than myself. Some people were born with the abilities to lead, teach, and follow, but we are all born with the ability to serve.
I grew up in a simple world. My dad was a barber and my mom stayed home raising five kids. Mama would babysit, iron other folks’ clothes, clean houses and occasionally sold Highlights magazines. Daddy started work at seven in the morning and got home at seven in the evening.
We were at church at least three times a week. My Dad was Sunday School superintendent and my mom taught toddler Sunday School class. They worked hard serving their family and the church.
My dad told me and my two brothers that he would put food on the table, a roof over our heads, and clothes on our back. If we wanted anything more we had to go earn the money to pay for it ourselves. So, we did. We sold flower seeds that we bought wholesale from Boys Life magazine, mowed yards and threw paper routes.
My parents really did not have to give us big speeches about giving back and serving the community around us - their actions were their words.
Every Sunday, Daddy dropped off the family at church and then headed for the projects (government housing). He drove a station wagon and, every Sunday morning, would have a least 10 or 12 young kids and teens in that station wagon, bringing them to church. Mama would give our leftover clothes that we had outgrown - most of the clothes patched up because they had already been handed down among my brothers and sisters.
My dad not only was a barber but also a carpenter. Before going into the U.S. Army, he worked for the Citizen’s Conservation Corps - a government program post-depression to give young men jobs. He traveled all over building shelters at state and federal parks throughout the southwest.
Daddy had Mondays off. Though he really didn’t, because most of the time he would help people from the church with projects as well as a group of widows who lost their husbands during the Korean War. Anything they needed, he was there to help. Mama cooked food and delivered groceries to families who just couldn't get by without some help from somewhere.
My dad was a soft-spoken man. He went about his service with no fan-fare. He also cut veterans’ hair Saturday Nights at the VA hospital. Mama fed every hungry mouth that came into the house and patched them up when they were hurt and crying.
My Mama and Daddy had no special talents. They loved their God and their family. They would not necessarily stand out in a crowd, but they knew how to serve those in need. Their example put a burning desire in my heart to emulate them in some way.
Somewhere along the way our world, our government and our community has forgotten and even lost the concept of putting others before themselves.
You don’t need to be a public figure to serve. You don’t need to be someone famous to serve. You don’t need to be an elected official to serve. You don’t even need training. All you need is passion - a passion to help those less fortunate than you are; a passion to engage in people’s lives at a whole new level; a passion to make this world a better place because you chose to serve your neighbor.
“Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while service improves the lives and the world around you, it’s greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life.”
Precinct 2 Commissioner Ron Marchant, who has served as commissioner since 2007, is a lifelong resident of Carrollton where he served on the city council, worked as Precinct 6 Justice of the Peace and has been actively involved in a number of other civic organizations. He can be reached at 972-434-7140 or at Ronald.Marchant@dentoncounty.com.