A missed opportunity

Published 8:56 am Friday, May 4, 2018

To the Editor:
Every now and again, we have great opportunities to advance, and/or to make a needed change, or simply, to make a difference within our own communities. There was definitely a missed opportunity on Tuesday for the Franklin Community (Ward 5) when Ricky Sykes was not elected as city councilman (Ward 5.)

Many of you reading this already know, or you know someone in the community, who has been helped by him. Ricky’s service extends over 20 years in the community of Franklin, this we know. Many times when I have visited Franklin, I’m greeted by kids, young men and parents with, “Hey, Coach Sykes” or “Sykes, let me talk to you about what’s going on,” or “What do you think about this or that… .” Sometimes with the kids that I encounter in Franklin, they approach me as if I am Coach Sykes, or with the young men and parents, I may listen, just to see if Ricky is doing the things that would make his mother proud. Other times I just say, “I’m not Ricky.”The funny thing is, sometimes they don’t believe me and say, “Ricky, stop playing. You would have told me if you had a twin.”

Even Mayor [Frank] Rabil and Councilman [Greg] McLemore thought that I was Ricky a time before. This tells me that Ricky is doing good things for the people of Franklin already. I personally know of him talking with the city officials on personal problems of many of the citizens, from jobs to area beautification, to electric bills, to trash pickup and even streets signal lights.

But Ricky’s wanting to help people did not start there, it was way before that. As a young man, once in Suburban Gardens Apartments (now demolished,) Ricky climbed through a second-floor window of a burning apartment to save an infant child, while others stood there, looked on and pointed. If I’m not mistaken, he cut himself in the process and still bears the scars from this selfless act.

Several months ago, Franklin and Southampton law enforcement was searching for an elderly woman, who had wandered off from home in the cold. When Ricky heard about this, he didn’t hesitate in helping to search for her. Ricky located the woman and notified law enforcement of her exact location. There was no “Thank you, Ricky” or “Good job, Ricky” from the community, and he didn’t look for any.

Speaking with Ricky’s neighbor, she said, “I support him because I know his heart is to give to those in the community who needs a voice.”

When there were shootings in the city, it was Ricky who reached out to Mayor Rabil, Councilman McLemore, Pastor [Anthony] Rawlings and others in the community, to have a meeting to discuss how to resolve that situation.

Many times people do things for that pat on the back or to claim a title/position or simply to just help out, Ricky is the latter. Ricky has devoted a lot of time from his loving family, for his city and the people of Franklin, without pay or a position. As a former police officer and a retired military veteran, I recognize effective leadership, selfless acts of service, true dedication, and true sacrifice when there is nothing to gain.

So I don’t write this letter as Ricky’s twin brother, but as a fellow servant to the people I see the needs of the people and of the community.

Ricky is a resilient man with a heart to serve. So, looking at him, was it a lost or a missed opportunity for the people of Franklin? You decide!

Randy L. Sykes