Friday closed my first year as the News Bulletin’s editor, and there was no better bookend than Saturday’s edition, which featured Crestview’s Britainy Pate, who overcame paralysis to walk again.
One story published in August 2012 chronicled her hardship, which included losing feeling in her legs, leaving her unemployed, without health insurance and searching for answers. In time, we followed the journey as Pate’s family learned conversion disorder contributed to the paralysis, and they established a foundation for her.
Fast-forward a year, and the 27-year-old is back on her feet and studying to become a certified nursing assistant. The recovery is “nothing short of a miracle,” she says. Many readers agree, thanking God for year-ago answered prayers and expressing fond wishes for Pate on our Facebook page.
I’d like to think this is why we’re on this planet: to help other people as we struggle on our own journey, learning lessons along the way.
Ideally, we all do our part. Good neighbors provide meals and run errands for sick people and their loved ones; doctors and physical therapists treat the patient; donors provide funding; and journalists can get the word out numerous ways.
For seven years, I’ve been honored to introduce the public to causes that can help others while inspiring the community and uniting its members. It’s an honor to continue that mission here in Crestview. It’s particularly rewarding when the paper follows someone for a multi-part series that ultimately has a happy ending.
Not all stories are like Pate’s, but regardless of the topic or outcome, we hope the news printed on our pages concerns you, informs you, entertains you or makes you think.
Often, the latter happens on this page, where our readers and staff express their views.
Last year, while planning to revive the on-life-support Opinion page, we reserved space for Hubbub, which would include notable readers’ comments from our Facebook and website. As the section developed, I commented to management about the barrage of negative comments and pejorative nicknames the Hub City received from its residents.
Maybe it’s like the brother or sister whom no one else can pick on — or else — but who is fair game to you, and if that’s the case, maybe it’s OK for our most vocal readers to let off steam. Regardless, a year later, it still concerns me.
Where’s the hometown pride?
After all, we live here, and should think positive; effect the change ourselves, as residents, if progress needs a little push.
Today’s letters to the editor express similar sentiments. Linda Hivner says she can imagine a Crestview dog park becoming a reality much sooner if residents help foot the bill.
That method seems to be working for the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, which has collected more than $15,000 toward its $30,000 goal for a fenced-in green.
That’s taking action. That’s personal accountability. That’s progress.
Believing Crestview always will be “behind the times,” “a good ole boys club” or “a redneck town” offers a good sound bite but does little to solve problems.
Solutions take action, like, say, giving the Dogwood Garden Club a hand, and working with the city to purchase and plant hundreds of native trees and plants to beautify the area. Imagine what would happen if a fraction of Crestview’s 20,000 residents committed to that. It would be one less thing for the City Council or Community Redevelopment Agency to worry about budgeting for, that’s for sure, yet we’d all gain from it.
That’s just off the top of my head; of course, I think plants make everything better. However, whether it’s that or something else, you get the idea.
It’s about doing something.
Weigh in: What do you think North Okaloosa residents could self-fund to improve their quality of life?