By Ormand J. Wipplenagg

Caledon Evening World

At the Heritage Club the Tuesday luncheon series “Approaches to Community Service” featured guest speaker Mr. Danko Whitfield, the noted time traveler turned pub owner. The lecture committee has invited notables of various backgrounds to present their ideas on creating community involvement.

Although Mr. Whitfield has retired from time travel he continues to seek new adventures as a co-owner of the Steampunk Explorer group. He talked of his hope that the group would make a contribution to the Victorian Steampunk community by helping old hands at Steampunk find new places to explore while introducing The Steamlands to new citizens and those whose interest has just begun.

It was a packed house of ladies and gentlemen on Tuesday last, many of them hoping for the rare chance to ask Mr. Whitfield about his time travels during the question and answer but his speech remained on the topic at hand, community service. He told the audience that the American revolutionary, inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin pursued a strategy of causing others to stand up from the crowd and take the lead of an issue. As much as Dr. Franklin has many achievements to his credit, Mr. Whitfield maintains that one of the greatest, which is often overlooked, was his ability to quietly create situations in which others would find themselves in a position of leading or pushing public opinion on a given issue. He said success on the issue was more important to Franklin than the accolades, although he was fond of those as well! Mr. Whitfield said Dr. Franklin realized that one person could not lead on every issue, there would be public resentment, jealousy and other impediments to a good idea not surviving the test.

Following the event the most cordial Mr. Whitfield made himself available to this reporter for a brief interview on Dr. Franklin’s thinking.

He said that while on some issues Dr. Franklin took the lead himself, whenever possible it was Franklin’s purposeful strategy to do the public good by planting the seeds and then letting others grow the idea, tending to it only as necessary and standing back whenever possible. The others would receive the applause for leading the charge but Franklin got what he wanted, the progress on the issue had been made and the old statesman was pleased to have had a hand in it even though the public had not noticed.

This reporter asked Mr. Whitfield if he used Dr. Franklin’s strategy himself. “Sir, if I did,” he replied with a smile, “it would follow that I would not be able to answer your question.”

“Are you going to answer my question?” your humble reporter asked. Mr. Whitfield continued to smile but said nothing.