People of Orange, the greatest asset

Published 10:28 am Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Editorial by Dawn Burleigh

When I decided to live in Orange many years ago, it was the people I met which helped me make the decision. Up until that moment, I always thought of Orange as ‘where my grandparents lived.’ In other words, it was a place to visit.

Visit, was all I had done until the six weeks between my maternal grandparents passing. While losing two of the most important people in my life in such a short span, I fell in love with Orange.

In the decades since, I have met so many amazing persons. I may be more than a bit biased when I say the most amazing are my husband and his family. When I am asked if I am related to my mother-in-law, my first response is, “She is an angel upon this earth.”

I did say I was biased on that point.

There are so many people in Orange, which reaffirm my decision to live here.

One of the gentlemen I met shortly afterwards was a funeral director. One would think it was due to the passing of my family members, but I met him through working at The Orange Leader. I could see how much he cared for the families of the deceased as he spoke with me on occasion. I since discovered how active he is in the community behind the scenes.

Another man in the community, I had the honor of interviewing. He quoted his grandfather during the conversation, “If you always tell the truth, you can never be called a liar.”

I loved the quote so much; I commissioned a young lady to cross-stitch it for me. Counted cross-stitch is one thing that has always eluded me. She presented it to me in a beautiful frame and now sits on my desk at work so I may see it daily.

This young lady, I would not have met if I had not attended functions in Orange such as National Prayer Day at the Orange County Courthouse or political functions such as Meet the Candidates. She is a teenager with a bright future.

Another gentleman I met is working on creating the Orange African American Museum. This man is quick with a smile every time I see him. He has shared some incredible stories with me about how times have changed in Orange. One was that there was a time he would have gotten into trouble for looking me in the eye as we spoke. I, myself, am grateful those times are behind us. No one should have to look down at the ground while speaking to another.

One of my favorite persons to have had the pleasure of meeting is a lady who will not hold back when I ask her a direct question. While I know she is more educated than I, she treats me as her equal when we speak. She is an amazing woman who makes me want to try harder to make this world a better place.

These are but a few of the many people who are Orange. Together they make this city a great place to live, work and play.


Dawn Burleigh is the editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at 883-3573 or