Oskaloosa.com

December 15, 2012

Eddyville youth most gracious and kind

By DEB VAN ENGELENHOVEN
The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Last week my newspaper published an article about the Eddybylooska Trophy basketball game. In the writing of the article, sports editor Jim Gries tried to point out that fans on both sides helped a young lady through the singing of the National Anthem.

His thoughts were that the fans came together no matter what trophy was at stake to be one with their voices. He chose to print the young lady’s name and that caused her embarrassment and tears.

We are truly, truly sorry that she was hurt by the article and we wanted to meet with her in person to express our regret.

With some incredible helpers at the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont School District, we were able to meet with her and her parents on Friday afternoon and apologize. To say that this family was gracious and acceptant is an understatement. They were thrilled that so many people had come to their daughter’s defense, but were also hopeful that we could put this behind us.

The Eddyville Community is very close-knit and very protective of their community family members, and I am happy that they chose to defend one of their own. She is a wonderful young lady. She deserves to have caring people on her side. I was amazed at how well she handled our meeting and at times I felt as if she were comforting me. She told me that it was all right and I could tell that she meant it.

If you know me at all, you know that I am passionate about our youth and she reinforced to me that my passion is well placed. I can’t think what a fine adult she will become one day.

This reminded me how powerful the printed word can be, but it also showed me how very harsh and unforgiving the Facebook community can be. I hope that in the future they will remember that The Herald is me and many other real-live human beings. We work very hard to do the best job that we can. It is never our intention to hurt anyone in the course of doing our jobs.

At this time of year may we all take to heart the message from this family that tolerance and forgiveness of each other is a blessing we can all share.