Take time to lift each other up

So much about the past week has been upsetting — depressing, even. The appalling lack of accountability on the part of both those responsible for following environmental and safety regulations at the IEI Plastics warehouse, and those responsible for enforcing them, has left too many focused on a scenario that reminds us there is a lot of housecleaning that must go on in West Virginia — politically, bureaucratically, economically — while we embark on the new ventures that are beginning to fill Mid-Ohio Valley residents with hope.

I am immensely proud of the work being done in the newsroom, and I assure you we will find the answers to the questions many have been reluctant to answer, in the aftermath of the fire.

Meanwhile, I wanted to take a moment to focus on a few positives that might have slipped under the radar last week.

In Williamstown, Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley dedicated its 100th home, for Ashley Sams and her son, Jissai. With the help of local businesses who offered financial support and volunteers, Sams is experiencing a “dream come true,” and says she is “grateful for this opportunity to have my own home to raise my son.”

Imagine the peace of knowing you have a roof over your head — your own roof — and that no one handed it to you; that with work and determination you can keep it there, and the odds are a little less stacked against you.

Judges and contestants in our annual cookbook contest gathered for the tasting party at a wonderful new venue — Tall Oaks Event Center in Parkersburg. We were joined by chef Chad Winebrenner of Grand Pointe Conference Center, who lent an air of professionalism to the event as he helped us choose not only category winners, but those whose recipes might be part of our Taste of the Valley cooking show next month. Still, there’s not much that can top the collective culinary wisdom of our group of regular judges, Kiki Angelos, Sarah Jalbert, Patty Christopher and last year’s grand prize winner, Mrs. Joseph C. Snyder.

It is always such a pleasure to sit down and sample good food with this group; and I am fortunate that they let me emcee the event.

Finally, you might recall a while back I asked readers to share with me some of the books they have been reading.

One woman stopped in my office this week to rave about a couple of books she believes should be read by everyone; and judging by her enthusiasm, I’m certainly tempted to pick them up, myself.

“Same Kind of Different As Me,” and its follow-up, “What Difference Does It Make?” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, with Lynn Vincent, have made quite an impression on this woman. She said the books “speak to your heart and soul in times like these,” and are “uplifting.”

Given the smile on her face even as she was recounting to me some of the plot points, I am inclined to believe her.

Do me a favor, folks: Find something that lifts you up a bit this week. Or, even better, do something that lifts up someone else. The concern and questions remain; let’s not let them overshadow all the good things we still have going on around us.

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Christina Myer is executive editor of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. She can be reached via e-mail at cmyer@newsandsentinel.com

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