Community Matters: We Are All Connected

Community Matters is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

On Saturday, I made an interesting discovery. In 2008, I volunteered on a campaign and in the process met Kevin Vincent and his wife Pat Haman. I was relatively new to Arlington community work, and I remember being appreciative of the opportunity to connect with great people.

Anyone who has had a conversation with me recently knows that I have become fascinated by genealogy over the past couple of years. I was looking through my list of distant relatives and came across a distant cousin with the profile name “Kevin Vincent.” There was no photo on his profile so I looked at his ethnicity and it was 100 percent European. I reached out to Kevin, and he confirmed that it was him. There is a 97+ percent chance that we share a distant relative.

Some may not think much of distant relatives, and others in my situation may try to hide (or refuse to discover) these relationships. Considering the fact that our connection probably dates back to some time in the mid-1800s in Alabama, we can guess what the circumstances were. I can’t help but marvel at yet another reminder that we are all much more connected than we think, no matter how hard we try to distance ourselves.

As we both search to find the exact connection, it has made me think back to how much I enjoyed working with Kevin and Pat here in Arlington, and it has opened up a new clue in my own family history. Through our research, I am already exploring new branches and asking questions about certain people in my tree. It also makes me think about something a friend told me the other day — they believe that when people leave this earth, their energy stays and their descendants will someday reconnect.

Arlington is a special community with a rich history. We pride ourselves on our commitment to civic engagement and responsive government. Our challenges throughout the years have helped us grow stronger. Each civic association, community group, county board, newsroom and any other organized group is made up of people with individual lives and stories, with a multitude of connections and relationships, both known and unknown.

I would like you to consider the idea that our individual relationships, as a part of these organizations, are what make Arlington strong, and if we strengthen them, we will be an even stronger community. It is those bonds and that energy between individuals which will help us tackle some of our most pressing challenges.

For Kevin and I, I am proud of the work that we did in Arlington, and in our own way now, we have continued to work on similar projects and issues. No matter what threads you hold in the fabric that makes up Arlington, I challenge you to reach out to an old connection or even start a new relationship. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to build a relationship with an individual with whom you think you could create some amazing energy that would be felt today, and for generations to come.

Krysta Jones has lived in Arlington since 2004 and is active in local politics and civic life. This column is in no way associated with or represents any person, government, organization or body — except Krysta herself.