By Scott McNamara

Editor’s Note — The following was submitted by Scott McNamara as a letter to the editor. Although it’s hardly typical practice, we decided the letter worthy of printing on the front page of the newspaper rather than the opinion page, believing that our readers might like to be reminded of Scott County’s positives — through the eyes of a relative newcomer to the community — amid the negative stories that often dominate front page space.

Why Scott County?

Some of you may have seen our Oregon license plates around town. Others may have had the chance to speak to us West Coast refugees. But regardless of how our paths may have crossed, one thing is for sure: you either wondered to yourself or asked us point-blank, “Why Scott County?” as a place we have chosen to grow some roots.

As we have met more and more of you, and explored more and more of the county, one thing is for sure: Why not Scott County?

We fled the mountains about 50 miles east of Portland where I worked downtown. But even the 90-minute commute was proving to be less and less of a buffer from the crazy political climate that Portland is becoming. The entire area is being taxed to death, and the cost of living is astronomical. We barely knew our neighbors. It became just too much for our family.

We basically had the entire country to choose from, as I work from home. Our basic criteria were good schools, good internet and a good community. Oh, and not being taxed to death. Tennessee, and Oneida specifically, won our hearts.

First and foremost, the people here are absolutely amazing. We have been shocked at the outpouring of genuine hospitality and warmth from this community. I mean, our neighbors make us homemade cinnamon rolls! The people of Scott County have literally restored our faith in humanity, 100 percent. We cannot thank you all enough.

Second, the natural beauty of the area is awesome. From Daniel Boone National Forest to Big South Fork and Pickett State Park, there is just so much great stuff to do.

Third, and not least, are the family values. It is beyond refreshing to see scripture on the side of the road, or an Easter message on Facebook from the Scott County Sheriff’s Office. The prayer in schools. The way kids speak to their elders. The pledge of allegiance. The way people will just come up and speak to our children and say hello. I’m not sure how you all have managed to do it, but it sure is special, and it sure is refreshing. It is definitely different than that on the West Coast.

We know when you live somewhere for a long time, you begin to forget the positive things that make it a great place. So, we figured we would write this letter to remind you all how special and treasured this area truly is. Hopefully it will make you take a moment and appreciate Scott County. Don’t ever take this little corner of Tennessee for granted. The rest of the country is a pretty nutty place!

We promise to give back to this community and, more importantly, we promise to keep it a secret.