Unless you’re just downtown in the middle of the noise and chaos that goes with building a large concrete structure, you may not have noticed. Occasionally I hear the clanging from my house a few blocks away. It’s annoying, but I can deal with it. I’m not the one getting dirty. I’m not the one listening to the high-powered noise all day long.

I’ve been close a few times. I drove to the boat launch one day and found mud everywhere from the trucks. My shoes got filthy, so I left. There was nothing for me to do anyway. I was in the courthouse one day and could hardly hear myself think with all the noise going on outside. We tried blocking it out by closing the windows and talking louder, but it was still there.

Building a bridge takes time, a lot of effort and energy. Creativity is involved, finding and using resources is essential, and putting together the perfect team to get the job done is essential. There are probably a million reasons a bridge can’t be built in a day.

Why am I going on and on about a bridge that’s been in the building process for almost a year? Because it’s not the only bridge being built in our community. May I direct your attention to the dozens of other bridges building built? They’re just as big and just as important, with just as many resources, team players, and financial impact.

In a community like Newport, with a rich and vibrant past and hopes for just as amazing of a future, and Tuckerman and Swifton and smaller townships in Jackson County, we have people working daily to build bridges. Schools and counseling resources work together for our children; churches and community centers work to provide food and shelter; revitalization projects work to bring memories from the old to the young; cities and businesses work together to form impactful alliances to increase the financial stability for employees; and volunteers work to make lives better for the community, building bridges between races and religions, between civil servants and the community they serve, between those who feel deserving and those who don’t.

I dare you to take a look around and maybe even get your feet muddy. If you’re not close enough to hear the banging that these bridges are making, to smell the effort being put into their projects, to feel the difference in the air, get there. You can hear it from your home: the trash being picked up, the churches holding events, the shelter having a fundraiser with singing, the local impact organizations cleaning up the neighborhoods. You can hear it at the ballgames, the school functions, the grocery stores, the street corners, people are talking, they’re digging in and getting involved.

If you want your community to look or feel a certain way, but you’re unwilling to be involved, you have no right to complain or mumble about how someone else is doing the job. The time is now to make a difference. It’s up to you. Do you want to help build a bridge?