I actually have been mentioning David when I speak, using him to exemplify a Commissioner who had a mission and vision that transcended simply taking care of County business. David has been stereotyped as the "business guy" just as some of us are stereotyped as "environmental guys", but like everyone he was multi-dimensional and thoroughly committed to recreational trails, particularly this one.
Of course, thousands contributed to the existence of the trail from taxpayers and voters (not always the same thing) to Commissioners, county staff and exceptional volunteers like Rollins Coakley.
I managed to make the ribbon cuttings at both ends of the trail, so I got to hear Commissioner Jon Thaxton twice. The first talk was punchy and assertive, but after traversing the entire trail he was more reflective and by the time he was done talking the trail seemed like a transect not only of his life, but even of Sarasota County.
Who expected unsolved murders, school breaks in storm sewers and a graphic vignette of Sarasota's county's racist past at a trail dedication? Jon spent more than the alloted three minutes, but delivered personal testimony that even attributed our enlarged Oscar Scherer State Park to the railroad right of way.
It was a moving speech and it made me wonder how many of the Venice Elementary School Chorus members would be roughly my age fifty years hence, standing on the platform reminiscing how they had been present the day the trail first opened?