The Journey: What I Learned from Not Winning Citizen of the Year


By SAMANTHA BRAZIE, Special to The Paper

Happy February, Paper readers!

This year I had the honor of being nominated for Citizen of the Year. The Kiwanis Clubs do such an outstanding job of putting this event together every year, it’s always a treat to attend and learn more about what Cowetans are doing to make our community a better place. My experience this year, as a nominee, was similar but hit a couple of different chords.

When we moved to Coweta, I was jobless and homeless. I looked for a job for quite some time and ended up applying at the company I’m with now with no job openings and Greg created one for me. While we were still in a recession.

Even though I have always wanted to help the community and did my best to be a servant leader – I never had that behavior modeled for me. It wasn’t until I started working in Coweta County, that I felt at home for the first time since I moved away from Wisconsin in high school.

Because of the leadership, generosity and kindness shown to me and around me, I was able to do things I’d never thought possible. Stabilize our family life, watch my kids grow up in a wonderful environment where they thrived as my husband and I proved to ourselves that generational cycles of poverty and domestic violence can indeed be broken.

I’ve always known how special Coweta is, but listening to all of the nominees, reaffirmed the diversity that a community needs to assure all sorts of human rights and skills and that we have people here with kind and open hearts that put themselves out there every single day to make our community a better place. And I am grateful beyond measure for every single person that does what they can to make a difference.

Sometimes it tests our tenacity, discipline and determination. It can break our hearts into a million pieces and it can be one of the best feelings in the whole world. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the Journey.

“It’s easier to take than to give. It’s nobler to give than to take. The thrill of taking lasts a day. The thrill of giving lasts a lifetime.” – Joan Marques

Questions? Comments?  Email me at  [email protected].


  1. Frank Barron 1 February, 2023 at 08:47 Reply
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    Well said. Thanks for this and for all you and so many others do for our community.

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