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To the editor:
Honoring My Children
While I Can
In light of the most recent losses of life this past week in
Logan County -- the four teens who died in the truck crash/fire near
Middletown, I would like to remind people -- parents especially --
to honor those you love.
Katie Carpentier would have turned 16 this Friday, and yet her
parents are burying her Saturday. I have watched Katie grow up --
her mom and I are friends, and she has been involved in the JSCC
youth program since she was little. She has hung out with my teens
and loved life. We will miss her so.
I honor Katie, and all those who died that night, and their
friends and families. But here --now -- I wish to honor another
group of amazing people -- my own children.
Kim Rankin Bridges is 27 years old. She has survived two parents'
divorces, the death of her biological mother at age 21 -- tragic
event in life which this space is not adequate to describe. Kim
graduated from Olympia High School and has become a successful
restaurant manager in Decatur. She was married to Kevin Bridges last
fall and is pregnant with my very first grandchild. Though she is
not of my flesh, she is the daughter of my heart, and I love her
dearly. Kim is my heroine.
David Rankin will be 17 years old next month. He has become the
man of our home(s) and has been an amazing role model for his
siblings. David is a junior at Clinton High School. He is known for
his strategic mind, quick wit, quiet confidence and deep compassion.
David plans on joining the USMC and does his best work when rescuing
others and fighting for what is right and good. I love him dearly.
David is my hero.
[to top of second column in this letter]
Joel Rankin is 15.5 years old -- will be 16 this October. He is
not only a survivor (and has the scars to prove it), but he is a
victor. He is a freshman at Clinton High School and has been taller
than me for some time now. Joel has the amazing ability to
accomplish anything he puts his mind to. He has a rare and
passionate love for life. Joel is smart as a whip, deadly as an
arrow and WILL rule the world someday. Look out, Bill Gates. I love
Joel dearly. Joel is my hero (and not just my Guitar Hero).
Jessie Rankin is 13.75 years old -- turning 14 this May. In all
my life encounters, I have never met a more amazing young woman than
Jess. She lights up a room by entering it -- and her art leaves it
more beautiful upon her exit. Jessie is an eighth-grader at Clinton
Junior High School and remains taller than me, even when I try to
cheat. She has only begun to tap into her gifts of creativity and
compassion. She can cut you like a knife with her quick retorts.
Jessie wants to be a graphic designer and an author/illustrator of
children's books. She currently rules the world. I love Jessie
dearly. She is my heroine.
Now, there are other young people who are touching my life in
amazing ways. Though we have not known each other long, I am in awe
of who you already are. I wish to honor you here as well, though not
yet by name. I can truly say I am proud of you, admire your
strength, your passion, and am growing to love you as my own. I can
offer you no higher honor than this. I love you all dearly. You are
February 21, 2008]
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