Thankful for generous folks
Last week was a real roller-coaster ride for me. I got to see the very best and the very worst of mankind, and thank goodness the former outweighed the latter.I saw the dark side in a courtroom last Friday afternoon when a young man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for beating his 4-month-old daughter to death. It was chilling to watch him during the proceedings. He showed no visible emotion. He just sat there and listened as the deputy district attorney recounted the night of his daughter’s death in graphic detail.Fortunately, we don’t have a lot of violent crime here, and so, unlike my big-city colleagues in the news business, I am not desensitized to it. I was completely unstrung. After the judge handed down his sentence and the defendant was led away in chains, we all just sat there in our seats for five minutes. We were all stunned at the brutality and lack of feeling we saw in the courtroom that day.I am, however, happy to report that most of the citizens of Garfield County are good people. Ever since I wrote about John and Tisa Miller, the calls have been pouring in offering help from groceries to cash. I’ve met some memorable people on the phone. One young man called in to say he read the story and just wanted to do something for the Millers. He hemmed and hawed and sounded like he hadn’t done anything like this before. He left his work phone, and I called and left the information he wanted. I also asked the woman who answered the phone what kind of guy he is, and she said, “He’s a sweetheart.” Yeah. You could tell.A woman called me about mid-week and said her bowling league decided to take the money they set aside for birthday parties this month and send it to the Millers. I spoke to the woman’s husband, and he said it that amounted to $200.She was so matter-of-fact about wanting to help. When she heard the Millers were short on food she said, “We just can’t have that.”Another woman said she’d like to give some staples. She explained that her family lives paycheck to paycheck. “But at least I have some food in the house,” and she wanted to share it with the Millers.I’ve had over 20 calls, and I’m sure some people went directly to the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities with their donations.Thank you all for helping out. This is what makes us a community, that we will reach out to help people in need.I called Tisa last week to ask her if people could call her directly and after agreeing, she commented that all the help they’ve gotten, the groceries and the cash, “just restore your faith in humanity.” Indeed.I have one more request. The Millers really need a reliable car. They weren’t able to make a doctor’s appointment recently because their car isn’t running and they couldn’t get a ride. If anyone has suggestions about how we can make that happen, I’d sure like to hear it.
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This may be a surprising story. It begins with a working group trying to save the last native bighorn sheep of Idaho’s and Wyoming’s Teton Range. Last fall it reached agreement after years of effort.