The Olympic games have dominated the news lately with countless millions around the globe tuning in to see the best athletes in the world "go for the gold." Each competitor demonstrated what single-minded determination can achieve.
As I watched the performances, I thought of all the folks out here in the real world, both past and present, who never received a medal, never had the accolades, never found fame, but who quietly made unique medal-worthy contributions to the quality of life in their communities.
So today, I'm proposing some long-delayed "gold medals" for those who have been key players in such far-from Sochi locations as Findley Lake, Clymer and Sherman, New York.
At the top of my medal list are two men whose dedication through the years touched the lives of all their neighbors. Since each was equally vital to his town, I would give well-deserved gold medals to both the late George "Bus" Bradley, long-time Findley Lake Fire Chief, and Butch Querreveld, who held the post of Clymer Fire Chief for many, many years. The two consistently demonstrated leadership qualities worthy of the gold.
In communications, I'd have to award gold medals to two women who tirelessly reported on the people and the happenings of their communities for decades. My fellow Sentinel News correspondent Elaine Cole has written of the Sherman scene longer than I've penned my own Moseyin' Along column. Every week, she's shared her upbeat view of life in that special place she calls home.
And, while Elaine has kept folks in touch with Sherman, Halcyon Mueller - Findley Lake's own "scribe" - has shared news of her lakeside community. As cofounder of her hometown's delightful "Tapestry" newsletter, Halcyon somehow managed to condense the Findley Lake scene into small news-filled treasures.
Gold medals in the category of "yarn spinning" is another tie. Les Hurlbut and Harry Dunlap left Findley Lake long ago for the story spinner's corner in heaven. But for many years, the two were star members of the old "Liars' Club" that met daily at Millie Keith's coffee shop on Main Street. For hours, Les and Harry and their pals would top each other with epic sagas involving various pieces of truth dressed in ample doses of whimsy.
Another performance worthy of a gold medal was turned in day after day, year after year by Findley Lake's retired Postmistress Wilda Resinger. From the time Wilda raised the flag over the little white post office, until she lowered it in the evening, the site served as the heart of the community. Every day the building rang with laughter, serious discussions, good-natured teasing or the latest report on ailing neighbors. And Wilda, with never a break in her professionalism, presided over it all with a ready smile.
Another area star deserving of a gold medal for his dedication is Sherman's Bob Crane.
For more than 50 years, Bob has served as a first responder with the Stanley Hose Company. Beginning as an EMT and moving through advanced training to his current status as an Advanced Life Support Technician, Bob has dedicated himself to giving emergency care to his neighbors as well as those passing through his community. He worked for years as an Emergency Room Technician at WCA as well as with the Starflight helicopter as a Flight Medic. Bob's emergency work has always been, and continues to be, of gold medal quality.
The amazing performances of world-class athletes have fascinated us during the Olympic games. But, as impressive as these individuals are, it's good to remember when the lights go out, when the TV cameras shut down, when life returns to normal, there are many regular folks, both from today and from the past, who have quietly made outstanding contributions in their own communities, contributions worthy of gold medal recognition.