In 2017, as Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast, citizens in Allen jumped into action to support our fellow Texans displaced by the storm. As a longtime member of the Allen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), I joined their ranks. Supporting those families at the Dallas Convention Center, I felt empathy for their situation and proud of my Allen neighbors who lent a helping hand.
Answering that call to service was modeled for me daily while growing up. My father wore a uniform, serving our country in the Air Force. My mother served our community as both a teacher and a hospital chaplain. In addition to my parents, there were countless others mentors acting as role models for service. My Scoutmaster and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Barrentine gave me the motivation to reach Eagle Scout. A young lawyer, now retired Major General Steve Lepper, guided me through my version of what I wanted to be when I grew up that led me to serve our nation for more than 20 years.
That is why, for the last 19 years that my family has lived in Allen, I have been committed to supporting our community. During that time, I have served on the Allen CERT team, served as a member and president of the Allen Community Development Corporation (CDC), supported the Boy Scouts, Allen Eagle Color Guard, high school youth ministry and served as a youth sports coach. Most recently, I was honored to be selected to lead Allen’s Downtown Steering Committee to develop a plan to revitalize the heart of Allen.
Through those role models and years of experience, I have learned three key principles:
- Listen First
- Be Prepared … and Resilient
- Deliver on Your Promises
Many people assumed that my mother’s calling was to teach the children and help the sick. She did those things, but her calling was to listen. From her I learned that before you can break through, you must pause and listen.
As Chair of the Allen Downtown Steering Committee, I served with an amazing team of Allen residents. In coordination with very talented city employees, we were committed to building an exciting future for the heart of Allen. More than that, we were committed to ensuring that every voice that wanted a chance to be heard about that future was given that opportunity. Through this process, we engaged more than 6,000 individuals in various venues: online zoom session, surveys and in person workshops. I am excited for the future that this revitalization project will bring, but I am prouder of how this strategic plan came together.
Be Prepared … and Resilient
Okay, the Eagle Scout in me had to mention the “Be Prepared,” motto of the Scouts. It was hammered into me, and I have passed it along to the scouts I have served for a reason.
Among other duties, I spend my days assessing the Department of Defense’s cybersecurity measures with the goal of protecting the information and networks of the women and men who protect us. Using that expertise, and working with Wayne Boline – a fellow Allen resident and cybersecurity professional – I developed a cybersecurity 101 presentation that I have delivered for FREE to local small businesses via the Allen-Fairview Chamber of Commerce, Sunrise Rotary Club, and City of Allen employees. I have also served on a national cybersecurity working group that provided guidance on a cybersecurity maturity model that thousands of U.S. and foreign companies will adopt when it is finalized. And, as a member of the Allen CERT, I have responded to local weather events when we were activated by the chief of the Allen Fire Department, participated in staged exercises that trained Allen Police and Allen Fire Department to respond to an active shooter at an Allen school and helped pass along my knowledge to new CERT response team members.
This experience has reinforced that simple motto: “Be prepared.” It is critical to prepare in advance. But, however prepared we may be, the situation on the ground will always present new challenges. That is why I believe we must also be resilient whatever may come.
Deliver on Your Promises
As a kid, I had the opportunity to visit both West and East Berlin. On the west side of the infamous Berlin wall, you could see a vibrant community, whereas on the east side, this 5th grader observed a zombie-land. As a parent, I have been fortunate to live in a vibrant community that is not divided by a wall. However, I have never forgotten that vision of the difference between real and failed governance.
As a member and president of the Allen Community Development Corporation (CDC), we have had a hand in determining how our local taxes are invested in the community. As a fiscal conservative, I have always understood where those dollars really come from and whom they really should benefit. Every dollar invested has been to the benefit of the community: fun-filled parks and events, trails to enjoy with families, and facilities that serve of our neighbors and create a space for our seniors to experience an active, closeknit environment. These investments have played a role in the city winning the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Our strong fiscal stewardship has resulted in Allen having one of the lowest debt levels in the metroplex.
My Commitment to Allen
As a Council member, I will work to ensure every voice in Allen is heard, Allen’s economy is moving forward, and taxpayers can trust how their dollars are invested.
Together, we can build a community that listens to each other, is prepared for a bright future and is resilient with whatever may come. And we can deliver on ensuring that all of Allen can enjoy the benefits of a strong community – safety for families, opportunities for work and entrepreneurship, and an affordable quality of life.
Don’t Forget to Vote for
Tommy Baril for Allen City Council
Election Day is Saturday May 6th and early voting begins April 24th.
Countdown to 2023 City of Allen Election