Ten-year-old Roland George stood before the City Council May 28 and, with teary eyes, thanked the people of Harker Heights for contributing to his life.
Roland and his parents, Craig and Dena George, are moving to Auburn, Maine, June 15, partly so his mother can pursue a medical fellowship at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.
Dena George said her son suddenly realized one day that the family’s time in the city was really ending, a realization that had built for months.
“A lot of (people) just push off (emotions), and then we realize there’s nowhere to push it off to,” she said.
After Roland gave his speech to the council and sat back down in the audience, Mayor Mike Aycock stopped the meeting, stood up, walked down from the council podium and called the boy forward again.
“I commend you for having the gumption to get up and speak to all these ugly men,” Aycock said with a smile, after handing Roland a Harker Heights 50th anniversary coin. “You are an honorable young man.”
The two shook hands before Roland returned to his seat. Officials talked with Roland after the meeting, as well.
The Georges took their son to the council meeting as part of earning his communication merit badge for Boy Scouts, which he expects to get Monday. Roland is in Troop 255.
Relocation is a common thread in the lives of many area military families, including the Georges, Craig George said. While Roland lived seven years in Heights, he also spent three at Fort Irwin, Calif. For the Georges, retiring from the military opened other career doors.
While Maine will bring fresh change, Roland will miss certain things about the community, such as the TCBY, Purser Family Park, his friends from Boy Scouts and St. Mary’s Catholic School in Temple, and Father Richard O’Rourke at St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church, to name a few.
Roland has served the community in various ways, including altar serving at St. Mary’s and helping with a wreath laying during Heights’ Memorial Day parade, he said.
In Harker Heights, Roland said he has a “sense of knowing where I am.”
“My best friends are in this area,” he said.
“I think that he has started on the path of independence here and the realizing of what the future can hold,” his mother said.