Monday, February 19, 2018

Editorial: Elaine Reynolds' example of service is just one part of her legacy

Nov. 16, 2017 at 12:03 a.m.

Among the memories we will keep of Elaine Reynolds is seeing her in her element, at some event or another. We would catch her eye and grin at her contented smile as she worked her way through crowds of people at Downtown Live, AlleyFest, the Great Texas Balloon Race or elsewhere — and we realized most of them had no idea they had Elaine to thank for the fine time they were having.

She liked it that way, we believe, just working behind the scenes for the enjoyment of her fellow residents and betterment of our city.

Those are among the reasons she will be missed.

Elaine Reynolds, in her long career as a booster of our city, set an example of quiet service we all could benefit by following.

Since her untimely death of cancer, we have heard many tributes from those Elaine worked with over the years, both in her official and volunteer capacities. They included statements such as these:

"She was one we always went to, the one who knew how to get things done. And she had been doing so for years."

"Elaine was the quiet force behind a lot of things happening around here."

"A constant resource."

"Longview is better because we asked Elaine."

We knew her as a worker who was never intimidated by a challenge. She built a reputation as the one who always kept pushing ahead, knocking down one task then another, working toward her goal a little bit at a time.

"She never got overwhelmed by the enormity of a problem, or the problem itself," one person who long worked with her told us. "She had the ability to stay calm and stay the course."

She also had a knack for building dedicated teams of volunteers who enjoyed working together and with Elaine. She had the same crew of people who would volunteer for AlleyFest, the balloon race, the downtown Christmas parade — you name it, she and her team were there.

We have no doubt the lessons she taught — about teamwork, pushing ahead, finding a good cause to support, setting a goal and working for it — will be carried forward by those she touched in her quiet way.

But we also are pleased there will be a lasting tribute, one built of brick and mortar in the place she helped make our city's gathering spot.

With the City Council's approval last week, the stage at downtown's Heritage Plaza now is known as the Elaine Reynolds Stage. It was an honor recommended by Longview Main Street and One Hundred Acres of Heritage, both among the many organizations she worked with in her positions as downtown development director, tourism and events coordinator and others.

Now, whenever we see the stage we imagine we also will think about Elaine overseeing the proceedings in her quiet way, smiling that little smile that told us all the work had paid off and things were going just the way she intended.

What a wonderful legacy.



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