After serving on the Rocky Mount Mayor’s Commission on Persons With Disabilities for more than a decade, Antonio Stephens said he feels like he has made a difference. He said that feeling is what keeps him on the board and encouraging others to serve on various city boards and commissions.
He said one change the commission has had a hand in was increasing wheelchair accessibility from streets to sidewalks.
“We are advocates for the disabled citizens of the city of Rocky Mount,” said Stephens, who had his right leg amputated after a battle with cancer when he was 15 years old. “We go through the city’s Human Resources department with suggestions, complaints or concerns.”
The city is accepting applications for positions on 13 boards and commissions until May 29. Stephen’s experience on the commission has taught him a lot about the policies and procedures of local government, he said.
“Part of a citizen’s responsibility is to better their community,” he said. “If someone feels they have a concern or complaint, they should get involved and do what you can to solve that issue, but follow it through to the end. Not everything is going to be successful, but you will learn the procedure you have to go through and learn about civic responsibility.”
Dennis Barnes joined Rocky Mount’s Redevelopment Commission in 2005 because he saw the potential in the downtown area and wanted to be a part of the redevelopment.
“If you look at the buildings that have been redone like the Imperial Centre or Planters Bank or the All State office, you can see how far we’ve come and see the potential downtown Rocky Mount has,” Barnes said. “Those are great examples of what can be for downtown, but we have to continue to push forward and support the work that is going on.”
Nominations with resumes can be submitted to the mayor, any City Council member or the City Clerk’s office.
For more information, call 972-1319.
More information on each of the volunteer opportunities are available at http://www.rockymountnc.gov/boards.html.
Barnes said getting involved in the commission has given him the voice in the redevelopment process that he didn’t have simply being a resident who supports the work.
“It is our city,” Barnes said. “If you don’t take pride in your own city and don’t work to see it come back to what it used to be, why should anyone else come to live or invest money in our economy?”