Leaving a Local Legacy

Sam Rainer

March 11, 2010

No one knows Sam Rainer, Sr.—at least outside of Union Springs, AL. My grandfather was the mayor of the town and president of the local bank. He didn’t write books. He didn’t have speaking engagements. I don’t think he ever did a radio interview. He just poured his life into the town my grandmother endearingly called “Onion Sprouts” (she never told us why).

The Lord took him home in 1984, but his legacy remains. He was a war hero who flew D-Day. He sided with civil rights activists in the 1960s. He helped local underprivileged children. He gave loans to struggling farmers, approved by handshake. He had no desire for national prominence. He simply loved his community and worked hard to make it a great place.

We could use more leaders like Daddy-man (what I called him as a four year-old). There is a temptation as a leader to pour energy into personal “brand-building” enterprises that create national notoriety. I’ve been guilty of this thinking. In the church we need less spiritual celebrities and more local legacies.

I’m blessed to lead a church with many local heroes—men and women without fame. But they are legends in the Murray community they love. So here’s to all the Daddy-mans out there leaving local legacies—the world will never know who you are, and I know that’s fine with you.

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