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For 37 years, I have made Owen County my home. It is a home by choice, having decided all those years ago to leave the home of my childhood and the home of my young adult life. From New York to Owen County – followed by many instances of having to address the question posed by all of my family and each of my friends in the North, “Why Kentucky?” And from my new-found friends and neighbors in Kentucky the question, “Why here, why Owen County?”
To those from my former home, the answer was that my move was not so much to Kentucky as it was a move to Owen County. And then I would explain my having fallen in love with the people of our fair county – for their decency, their honesty, their friendliness and their neighborliness. Many, many times over the ensuing years have I been witness to the manifestation of those qualities in acts both large and small. And thus those many times has my decision to make this my home been reinforced.
I write this letter today in order to thank a specific group of people, to thank them for quite literally saving my life a few weeks ago. To Dr. Johnson, Nurse Kathy, to Kyle and the other good souls working in our hospital’s emergency room that morning – to each of you I state publicly my most sincere and humble appreciation for your actions on my behalf. You did well, real well; and we as a populace are very fortunate to have you and your peers in the local medical community in our midst. I thank you as do I thank all those who worked so hard to bring us the medical facilities that now grace our county.
I write to thank these people, but I also write to reflect on yet another example of, “Why Owen County?”
Our medical people are professionals and their actions bespeak that status, actions which relate to neither county, state nor nation. Their actions were heroic in that they saved the life of another. Clearly a decent, friendly and downright neighborly thing to do alright. Yet these are professionals who were doing their job and while they now have my undying gratitude, it was another act which occurred on that morning which gets to the heart of the question at hand and which calls for a public thank-you as well.
While checking into the hospital just before my scheduled procedure, I casually remarked to the ladies at the registration desk that I had left my dog waiting for me in my truck inasmuch as I fully expected to be out shortly. Well, that didn’t prove to be the case since I woke up in the emergency room considerably later after very nearly not waking up ever again. I was mighty thankful, mind you, but here’s the thing. Here’s why Owen County. Because, as I lay there on the gurney in the E.R. trying to come to grips with what had just happened to me – as I lay there one of the ladies from the front desk came in and said, “I just want you to know that we looked after your dog.”
Those ladies had taken it upon themselves to look through the parking lot for a truck with a dog in it, took it upon themselves to see that she was OK. To me, this was a simple act that reflected sensitivity, compassion, decency and bottom-line neighborliness. Exactly the kind of act that caught my eye those 37 years ago; the kind of act which speaks eloquently to the question of, “Why Owen County?” And so to those ladies do I offer my gratitude – gratitude for a simple, self-initiated act of kindness – and gratitude for giving me still another example, a powerful example, to cite when answering that question.