Sometime during the night, Olen slipped into a coma. I called my sister that morning and told her what was happening and to tell Mr. Williams so he wouldn't have to make the trip to Chapmanville. My sister called me back and said Mr. Williams insisted on coming anyway to salute a fellow Marine and visit with the family.
He didn't have to do that, but he did, and I am so thankful he did. He and four other Marines came all dressed alike. They came into our home and the first thing they did was salute Olen at the foot of his bed and had the most beautiful prayer that touched all there to our core.
They then visited with us before taking their leave.
I knew from living with a Marine for 41 years, I know their values, honor and duty to their God, country and family, so I understood fully why Mr. Williams insisted on coming to our home. I will never forget what he did for Olen. Mr. Williams will forever be in my heart and the hearts of my family. Olen died less than 24 hours later at 9:04 a.m. Aug. 26, 2012.
Library staff work hard for community
I felt heartsick when I read the "Kanawha libraries prepare for layoffs" headline. I visit the main library at least once a week. I borrow books, audio books, and music CDs. In the past, I borrowed movies that my mother and I watched together.
My first trip to a Kanawha County library occurred before I started grade school. My mother checked out books for my older sister, who could read, and books for my younger sister and me, even though we had not yet learned to read. My sisters and I have read thousands of books since that first visit to the place that enthralled me as a little child and still enthralls me today. My step always quickens when I get closer to the library because I anticipate I will find something new and interesting there to teach and entertain me.
But I learned a long time ago that libraries are only as good as the staff who work in them. The staff members I have spoken with at the main library and the Cross Lanes branch have been unfailingly polite and patient. Without knowledgeable staff to help me figure out which book I am looking for -- though I only know part of the title or misspell the author's name -- the library would be a big warehouse of items difficult and time-consuming to navigate. Out of public view, there must be other staff doing their best to keep the library running efficiently and entirely for the good of the public they serve.
I can't begin to adequately thank all these public servants who have given me so much. I wish I had it in my power to keep all of them in their jobs, doing the work that benefits our Kanawha County communities and citizens in countless ways.