Our Voice: We're grateful for people who teach others respect

March 19, 2014 

We're thankful this week for people who pull a community together, whether it's teachers or coaches or community groups.

Part of being part of a civil society is being tied to different groups. The more connections we have, the stronger the fabric of that society is.

In general, we are seeing an erosion in respect for people and things, so we're grateful for those who model respectful behavior.

Veterans monument

It's not surprising to us that the community is contributing money to the repairs to the veterans memorial. We are surprised -- and dismayed -- that the monument was vandalized in the first place.

It's a strange happening, indeed.

And the fact that the vandalized pieces were recovered not far from West Richland's Flat Top Park only adds to the mystery.

Who did that? Why?

We might never know. But it is easy to identify the people who are willing to make it right and move forward.

The return of the stolen pieces will help with the restoration. Artist Pat Artz, who created the monument, believes he can repair it -- although he hasn't had the opportunity to inspect the damage yet.

We are not surprised at all that people already are donating to the repairs.

Eugene Lamm, president of the Combat Veterans International Chapter 3, has a goal of rededicating the repaired statue July 4. That's a highly appropriate date.

The repairs are estimated at $25,000, although that's not a firm number. We're not sure how much has come in so far but certainly not that much.

People who want to donate can do through the West Richland Area Chamber of Commerce. Be sure to indicate it's for the veterans monument.

Through someone's inconsiderate act, the light of human goodness shines brightly.

Crystal Apples

We're grateful to live in a community where educators are respected. It's probably difficult to select outstanding educators. There are many good ones to choose from.

We're also excited for this year's Special Achievement Award winner, Lloyd Swain.

Swain works for Charter Communications and produces programs -- including those on education -- for the public access channel.

People who choose teaching as a vocation -- and excel at it -- earn every penny they make. And at a ceremony designed to honor educators, you are pretty sure you will see some awesome teachers on the platform.

But education is far beyond what happens in the classroom. Great teachers are part of a community that makes them successful. So the special achievement award is especially important. It reminds us that we are all a part of our children's education and future.

Congratulations to Swain and to the 10 educators from our area who were acknowledged: Gary Eby, Christine Witt, Linda Willingham, Mary Biehn, Holli Prior, Judy Booker, M. Seth Johnson, Jill McColloch, David Holmberg and Jan Barber.

Covington legacy

Beloved Richland football coach J.D. Covington died this week at the age of 85. His players are singing his praises.

We're thankful for men who are father figures to teenage boys. There are fewer men willing to take on that role all the time, and the need for it is ever increasing.

We also are grateful for people who expect great things from kids in positive way -- these are the people who are much more likely to get that response.

Respect is quickly becoming outdated. Respect for the rules, respect for other people and respect for oneself are all taking a hit.

We appreciate the difference Coach Covington made in Bombers' lives.

Waterfall official

Just last week we were thinking it would be great if Gov. Jay Inslee came to Palouse Falls to sign the bill making it the state's waterfall.

This week, there was a photo in the Tri-City Herald of him doing just that.

Thanks to the governor for showing interest in the Washtunca students' work. They wrote the bill, found a sponsor for it and even testified for it in Olympia.

It's interesting that the official "state waterfall" is in Eastern Washington's desert. There are lots of other little hidden surprises on this side of the state as well.

We are known for water, weather and wine. Maybe we need to add waterfalls to that list and give people another reason to come visit.

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