By David and Dale Neas
When we opened our paper a few weeks ago to see Brandon Patterson's picture and the story of his DUI, our hearts sank. We have known Brandon for a number of years — through church youth group — as a student in Dave's SWCC class — as a friend.
We know Brandon to be a hard-working and honest young man. We have read his accomplishments as water department superintendent and followed the information he has written for the general public explaining concerns and providing information about our local water service. We are proud of him.
Unfortunately, few, if any of us, go through life without having trouble and problems. Brandon's trouble is an addiction. He is not the first, and certainly will not be the last, to experience a problem with alcohol. He has a difficult road ahead controlling that addiction. We have confidence in Brandon's ability to do just that.
When a public employer or public figure does something that generates scandal, it can bring out the worst in some people.
To some, anyone who works for the public is not entitled to suffer from human failings. It doesn't work like that.
The water board has imposed strict conditions that hold Brandon accountable for his actions, as they should. They have resisted the temptation to summarily fire him, which would undoubtedly have been a more popular course with some people.
They have made the right decision. The community has a lot invested in Brandon, as a product of our schools, of one of our churches and as a neighbor.
The water board has a lot invested in Brandon as an employee. It is always better to try to salvage an employee, and it is even more important to give a good human being another chance — with accountability.
Many of us have stumbled in life. The true test of character is what the person who stumbles does next. We know Brandon has the character to pick himself up and restore the community's trust in him.
We, along with many other of his friends in the community, are ready to help him in any way we can. Providing support and help is always better than kicking someone who is down, as some people seem to delight in doing.