A family that is a part of the community I love and serve was attacked a week ago, held hostage, and abused. Their house was ransacked; their car was stolen. Their name and pictures were all over the news.
This family, like the rest of their generation in our community, values their privacy. Everyone in town knew their names, but there was something distasteful about their name, their pictures, their quotes smeared all over the news. They didn’t want it blasted from the rooftops that they had been victimized. The Springfield paper named them. The news named them. Our local paper here in Republic, Missouri, did not. Even though they had been named by everyone else, the editor, Ryan Squibb, withheld their name from his article because the family asked.
I have to admit, as I finished reading the article and saw Ryan’s note about withholding the family’s name, I began to cry. I do not cry often, but this act of kindness was so unexpected and respectful of this family that has been through hell and survived… I just let the tears flow. I don’t know if Ryan caught flack for withholding the name even though it had been released, but I think he deserves major kudos for doing the right thing.
In another (bigger) local paper, I have been misquoted and even quoted in articles for which I was not interviewed. It’s eerie seeing that you said things you know you did not say. It’s invasive and uncomfortable knowing that someone has put words in your mouth and used the idea of your voice to say things they just wanted to say. The bold, refreshing move by The Republic Monitor, a small, award-winning local paper, has restored some of my faith in newspapers and journalists. Ryan Squibb, you’re my hero.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, I have another hero. His name is Rob Polchow, and he’s my one and only big brother. When I was a little girl, my seven year older brother was my constant hero, and he is again now that I’m 34.
My niece, Kira, learned to knit from my mom at Christmas. When Kira was asked to present a Revolutionary War-era craft, she chose knitting. Rob asked me and Mom to make a couple of YouTube videos to demonstrate knitting and cast-on. We did. We both knit continental style, and that’s what Kira was taught. When Kira sat down to knit, she was soon frustrated with how to handle row turns.
At 10:30 PM on Wednesday, my brother was on Skype with my mom learning how to knit so he could help Kira. He’s very right hand-dominant, so she had to show him the non-continental way with the yarn in the right hand. Although he can’t imagine why we consider it therapeutic, he knows how to make a knit stitch… all for a ten year old girl and her class project.
These may seem like small things: withholding a name and learning to knit, but these are the kind of small things that make life so much better for people who need a little help, a little privacy, a little extra care. I hope your life is full of unsung heroes and that you find a way to be helpful to someone who needs one.