Random Acts of Kindness

dave-headshotIn an addendum to last week's "Couponing" column, my daughter, Catherine Corcoran, updated me on why she started that practice of collecting store and manufacturers' package discounts.

For 2014, the now Arlington, TX resident made a New Year's Resolution to perform "Random Acts of Kindness" every day that she could. (That's a better idea than the "Random Acts of Violence" that we've been reading about and seeing on the news daily.)

That idea popped into her mind when noticing a cold, store checkout young lady. It had turned cold outside that day. Asking the clerk why she was shaking, she said she'd left home before it got so cold and didn't bring a coat to work. Catherine, then, went out to her car, found an old coat and took it to her. "The clerk was delighted, and so thankful for this act of kindness," Catherine described.

Next, in a supermarket, a sincere yet concerned young mother mentioned to her that the cost of pampers was so costly for her family. With that, Catherine remembered that she had some coupons for pampers in her car. "I ran out to the car, grabbed the coupons, and ran back in hoping to find her again," she related. Indeed, she found her, gave her the coupons, and she just smiled, saying those coupons - combined with hers - would save her $48.00.

For each individual family, though, Catherine affirms, "Couponing is a good way to save money." Also, expired coupons can be sent overseas to military service personnel or family, because the coupons are honored over there longer. Finally, you can find coupons almost anywhere.

For example, after my regular dental appointment in Glenville this past Monday, I noticed that on Dr. John Westfall's small paper "Dental Care Bag" to patients that three coupons were on it for Proctor & Gamble's useful and healthful oral care products - $1.00 off on a toothbrush, the toothpaste and dental floss. Now, that's kind of "a good deal" for me in a future purchase, a savings of $3.00. (Actually, I prefer Colgate's Total for toothpaste, but that brand also came in the bag, so I'm still a happy camper.)

As a result, I don't know how the stores and manufacturers can come out ahead financially on issuing coupons, but they can be mighty handy for us consumers, especially those citizens who are in most need of them. Hence, we editors commend and appreciate the WVU-Gilmer Extension Service and Latasha White, Foodland's manager, for presenting the recent couponing workshop here at the Glenville Fire Station.

Finally, based on my daughter's altruistic New Year's Resolution, she's challenged me to come up with a better one than losing weight, getting more exercise and "getting a real life." So readers, if I change to "Random Acts of Kindness" to you all, watch out: I may be clumsy at first.

Anniversary: War on Poverty

Talking about hard pressed families, that's what Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy discovered in the southern West Virginia Coalfields in 1960. And, it's now 50 years later when Mr. Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, made that famous declaration of war against this domestic evil.

Nevertheless, it was during President Kennedy's 25th Anniversary Speech commemorating the establishment of Social Security that he alluded to the poverty problems still existing in America. To combat poverty, he called on various cabinet members to "Brain Storm" in "Saturday Groups" to come up with some concrete plans to eradicate it.

From these meetings emerged the Job Corps, Head Start, Legal Aid and Medicaid, which were designed to bolster the lowest rung on the economic scale. Later on, Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Insurance and Earned Income Tax Credits would be put into effect during President Johnson's terms.

As President Kennedy once said, these governmental programs need to be "a hand-up, not a handout."

On this 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, we editors would hope that President Barack Obama will, once more, take up, advocate and give a new life to this important national goal and to run with it. Stressing the need to end joblessness would be a good start.

Obamacare is a good start to help the 40 percent of medically uninsured and uninsurable Americans, but a little old-fashioned creative thinking, like President Kennedy did, could lead to programs for improving the lives of the chronically poor. In part, a little "couponing education" and tech training for them might be helpful, too!
School closure sessions

Most local people, with whom I've spoken, ask: "Why didn't more citizens attend the recent school closure Public Hearings?"

After all, the schools at Troy, Sand Fork, Normantown and Glenville hang in the balance.

In fact, in three of those towns, the schools are also the real community centers, where the residents often enjoy holiday meals, see sports events, attend some student-faculty assemblies and visit with one another.

Being worn out by the holidays, and worn down by attending previous lengthy BOE meetings, I sense that the public knows that the end of their schools is in sight. Let us all hope, however, that the proposed consolidations will not be the end of their community's spirit, joint activities and neighborhood togetherness. Hence, now would be the time to start planning to establish community centers, like in Tanner and Cedarville, and thinking up appropriate seasonal get-togethers, commemorative festivals and homecomings. In that way, the communities will continue as vital centers of activities for the people who reside there, in spite of losing their schools.

David McQuain update

Last Sunday David McQuain, a Kanawha Valley resident who has deep Gilmer County roots, called to update us on the water disaster in the Charleston area and surrounding counties.

Like Fred Radabaugh, of Elkview, said, they made it through the disaster as best they could.

David, who traces his ancestors back to the Revolutionary and War of 1812, has come to our newspaper's aid in the Kanawha Valley, being our paper's correspondent when Gilmer events take place down there. He's a social worker by profession.

Because residents could flush in the bathrooms and get plenty of bottled water, he and his family got through the inconvenient time without too much difficulty. Washing clothes was a problem, taking some volume of clean water to do the job.

Bottled water is now being used more in the business offices, due to the continuing vigilance and fright over toxic chemicals in the public water system, he adds.

He also stressed that the real lesson of the disaster is: "It was a wake up call to everyone in the Kanawha Valley about the levels of chemicals in the drinking water supply." He, then, wondered if other counties, like in Gilmer County, were concerned with chemicals in their water and if they have alternative water sources.

He hopes to write short pieces for this newspaper as time goes on, but not now, having to completely recover from the area's water problems.

Glad that you and yours didn't get sick, Dave! Keep up your good spirit and good works!

Fran Schmetzer update

In thinking about our current and former correspondents, my mind continues to focus on Frances Myers Schmetzer, who just lost her beloved sister, Mary Vitale, 83, due to a sudden illness. I know that Fran lives around a lot of family, but I think that she'd appreciate some well-wishing calls from Glenville (where her heart remains).

Her phone number is 804-569-8040.

Give her a buzz, as she still wants to return for the 2014 Folk Festival, at least one last time (I hope, though, that it will be many times more, as I need her for our Historical Society's "Ghost Story" nights). She's a master at telling the supernatural tales, like Grannie Sue, Sharon Brake and our own society's, Dot Frey.

Conclusion

Finally, be good, kind folks, and perform at least one "Random Act of Kindness" this week, if that's possible in our bone chilling winter weather.

Moreover, like our award winning cartoonist, George Harper, notes in this week's "Cow-toon," we editors also plead with those winter predicting fury hogs to stay in their holes on Groundhog Day this Sunday. No need for more winter weather here; we've had our fill!