"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

To some it was just a tree. To the Koonsman family it was a sacred part of their home, one that took root on the family's ranch in Duffau more than 200 years ago.

Generations of Koonsmans had climbed what had been dubbed the "big tree" and picnicked underneath its large, sprawling branches, where many of the family's pets had found their final resting place.

When Lone Star Transmission threatened to tear it down to make room for an energy transmission line, the family fought back.

Leading the charge was Jon Koonsman, who spent countless hours researching the company's background and the family's rights. His mission to save the tree led him to take on the corporate giant, and in the process, gather a large group of supporters who understood what a cause like this meant.

Perhaps only those living in rural American can still appreciate the beauty of green pastures, rolling hills and land that remains unspoiled by big city sprawl and urban development.

Perhaps it's only those still living in places like Erath County who have the guts - and make the time - to stand up for the things that matter. Things like saving the "big tree."

Not only did Koonsman's battle teach us that we can take on big fights and win, it reminded us that we should.

Indeed, activism is a powerful thing, and as Margaret Mead said, it is the only thing that can change the world.

Thank you Koonsman family for reminding us of that.

The Stephenville Empire-Tribune