Control what you can, make the best of the rest

We're thankful for preventative health care. Two stories on the same page in Friday's Herald made us think about taking steps to stay healthy.

We're also thankful for things beyond our control because they give us a chance to react to them.

Flu shots

It's shocking to think that the flu is still killing Americans, but it is. At least three people in Washington died from this preventable illness last year.

It doesn't have to be that way, especially in the Mid-Columbia.

The Benton Franklin Health District provides free immunizations for children, and for adults who can't afford the shot, the fee can be waived.

The flu season is just getting started. It's the perfect time to take precautions.

Get immunized. Wash your hands. Cover your cough. Keep your germs to yourself. Be healthy in 2013.

School-based health centers

A $500,000 grant will provide preventative health care to school children in Pasco -- and their families.

Again, we like the idea of prevention.

And, to fully support a child, you really have to support the family. To build a strong society, start by strengthening families.

The grant is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will pay for Tri-Cities Community Health to add two new school-based clinics.

Veteran honored

What have you done in the last seven years?

Capt. Scott Smiley has gone surfing, skydiving and mountain climbing. He has completed a triathlon, earned an master's degree in business administration from Duke and authored a book.

In short, he's been busy accomplishing things the rest of us might have on a bucket list.

Oh, and he's done it blind.

In 2005, a car bomb in Iraq took Smiley's sight.

So if you were going to set some New Year's resolutions, but decided it was too hard or you were too weak or any other myriad of excuses, maybe you need to reconsider.

College success

We're also grateful today for the people who provide services for our veterans.

The services we usually think about when it comes to vets are help with medical problems or housing or employment or mental health concerns -- not necessarily help with school.

So we're eager to see how Steven Malone is helping make former soldiers into better students at Washington State University Tri-Cities and Columbia Basin College.

We would love it if all students were successful. And we think they all can be, but some are too distracted to get the paper turned in -- even if they write it. And others have a hard time prioritizing their study time.

These are skills that can be learned.

Some, not all, young people enter the military because they are unsure of what to do with their lives, and it buys them some time. It also gives them some skills.

We're glad to see that those who struggle with school after their service have a place to get help if they want it.