War news hits home
As close as the war in Iraq had been felt with Baldwin High School graduates involved, it got even closer last week when the first Kansan to be killed, Army Sgt. Jacob Butler, was from nearby Wellsville.
I know a lot of people in and around Wellsville, b ut the name didn't ring any bells. Butler was a 1996 of Wellsville High School, which is quite a bit older than my boys, which is where I come to know most of the people from there.
In the ensuing days after his death, I learned that his uncle, Robert Bu tler, lives in Baldwin and works at Baker University so the loss felt even closer. Robert Butler is coping with his nephew's death and has declined to be interviewed to this point. That's certainly understandable.
Rose Broers, who works in the Baker main tenance office along with Butler, said Monday that he's doing better and is coming to grips with the loss. She also said that efforts are underway there to help the family out.
"We're taking up a fund for them," said Broers. "We're either going to give t hem it for funeral expenses or for a memorial fund. We're going to help them however we can."
She said contributions can be dropped off at the maintenance office between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. It's another one of those efforts that all of Baldwin can get b ehind.
There are many other efforts around Baldwin going on to support our troops. The front-page story on the Baker business office's shoebox effort is a good example.
There are others. I know newly elected city council member Nancy Brown was coor dinating similar efforts through different churches last week, too.
It appears the key to all of this is to be sending the boxes and mail to specific soldiers. The Department of Defense has said that unsolicited mail to the troops is not a good idea. Thi s is a real balancing act, but the intentions are certainly good.
Baldwin is certainly doing its part and that's always good to see. Although we aren't printing the list of local soldiers, we have compiled a list of who we know and have given those addresses out to groups or individuals.
As for an update on John Bones, the 2002 BHS graduate who is on the front lines in Iraq with the 3rd Infantry, his mother, Shirley Bones, stopped by the Signal last Wednesday.
While she hasn't heard directly from her son, she received a letter that morning and shared it with me. It was very interesting.
I keep trying to put it in perspective of what she must be going through, but I just can't. As an example of that, the war broke out midway through spring break h ere. She was obviously worried about her son's situation in the Middle East. I was worried about my sons, Brett and Anthony, driving to and from and being at South Padre Island. There's no comparison.
War keeps hitting home here in Baldwin. We hope there won't be any news here like occurred in Wellsville. But, we certainly know now it can, and does, happen -- even in our "safe small towns."