Eufaula City Council President Johnny Knight closed Monday’s meeting with the comments: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve got to do something. We’re losing control of our kids.”

Knight was half right. Some kids as well as some adults seem to have difficulty acting right these days.

While he made no specific reference, chances are Knight was referring to two local shootings that had occurred post-graduation night and at least one incident that occurred during one graduation.

What should be one of the most memorable nights in a positive manner for some boys and girls, well, I guess it was memorable, all right.

Here’s an open invitation to Knight and other local leaders and interested parties to attend the first ABCE gathering, July 11, at the Shorter Mansion pavilion. Tickets are $15 each, which will include a meal catered by Joe’s Food factory.

ABCE stands for A Better City for Eufaula. Plans are to have a guest speaker at least a couple of times annually in hopes of rallying the community. The first speaker is Johnny Dyess, whose message of faith after falling into a dark world of drugs, even holding a rifle to protect a man during a drug purchase at an Atlanta warehouse, is powerful. After playing for Alabama and legendary head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant for four years, he was arrested many times over about a dozen years, escaping death on occasion, but not escaping the Drug Task Force when it rolled up to his house and caught him red-handed with an active meth lab.

Dyess would do God’s work in jail, helping save a young inmate as he waited a bed at the state prison to open for him. Prison was delayed as he entered a life restoration facility in Opelika and he was eventually sent to Times Square Church in New York City to do maintenance work, including cleaning the bathrooms for a church that has about 10,000 guests weekly.

Faith was restored and today Dyess has spoken to a majority of the schools in Baldwin and Montgomery counties, as well as many churches and organizations around the south. Once an assistant coach at Elba under current Eufaula head coach/Athletic Director Ed Rigby, Dyess is actively involved in his alma mater as well as his church. Rigby, in fact, spoke on Dyess’ behalf at the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles in March 2017. Because of his extensive work with youth and the church, Johnny was granted a full pardon.

His message is powerful. He’ll make you laugh, make you go ‘wow,’ and make you realize that God never gives up on people no matter how much they give up on him. Hopefully, this is just one of the things to which Knight was referring when he said “We’ve got to do something.”

Along with the end of the respective school years at the various local schools also ends the Tribune’s first semester of honoring local teachers and students of the week, lately sponsored by Medical Center Barbour in each weekend issue.

We will pick it up again when school returns. Eufaula High, The Lakeside School, Admiral Moorer Middle School, and Parkview Christian School participated for the last few months. We may add schools next semester, which will probably require us to publish the individuals more than once per week.

Nevertheless, thanks to the schools for getting us the information in a timely manner and making it such a success.

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