A great voter turnout to have your voices heard
While it did not break the 2004 election of 81 percent for voter turnout, it did set a new record, almost doubling, absentee voters. I would have to say 70 percent is not shabby as the state voter turnout was just under 63 percent.
The Reporter & Farmer hopes you enjoyed the coverage we gave from not only the candidates, measures and amendments, but about voting. We would like to hear from you how we can continue to provide more in depth coverage for a weekly newspaper.
I remember years ago a subscriber asking if we were going to be open on election night and have coffee and cookies. It was something that was done before my time, but I would also be curious if you would like the Reporter & Farmer to be open election night. So let me know by email so when the next election comes up we can try to do some of these things if it works into the newspaper policy.
Kudos to our newly elected and re-elected officials. First for running. It is easy for people to go after these folks, but that does go with the job. The other for stepping up and making a difference. Our state now has its first woman governor. Day County and District 1 also have a female representative, Tamara St. John. On top of that she did something no Republican has done for 18 years.
Everyone has told me many times over this is a Democratic county. Billie Sutton did get the vote here, but overall Republican candidates won their spots.
But it should not need to come down to Republican and Democrat. How about who is going to represent us the best? Maybe our state races should come down to election like school boards and city councils in Day County. They get the signatures they need to have their names on the ballot and run on who they are and not which party they belong to.
Don’t forget veterans, they’ve been through a lot
When I hear “veteran,” I think of the brave men and women who have served and sacrificed for this country I am blessed to call home. Many individuals come to mind, but there’s one who specifically leaps to the forefront.
His name is Joe B. Silvers.
While you don’t know this man, I want to tell you why I think of him as a hero.
Joe dedicated 26 years of his life to the United States military, serving in the Army and retiring at the rank of Major.
He served during both Korea and Vietnam – it’s got to be an interesting story about how he ended up serving in both of those conflicts, but he never really wanted to or was willing to talk about it. His spine was ruined from all the parachute jumping he did. He’s battled multiple health issues brought on by the Agent Orange that was dumped while he was in the jungles. Today, he’s confined to a bed in a veterans hospital due to multiple strokes which have left him nearly completely paralyzed and barely able to communicate through speech.
Even before losing his ability to talk, Joe seldom spoke about his days in the service. Mostly, he talked about the good days, the funny moments between bloodshed. He talked freely about the camaraderie with those in his infantry unit.
On the rare occasion he did talk about combat, the details were sometimes lacking and the imagination can’t even fill in the horror.
One such story is when he was injured during a battle and upon being brought back to the medical tent, was taken for dead. He was placed in a pile of deceased bodies. Had it not been for a woman picking through the dead’s belongings who happened to notice he was still breathing, Joe’s story might have turned out differently. To this day, tiny slivers of shrapnel are still working their way out of his body and have to be plucked out with tweezers.
Joe also told about returning to the United States after Vietnam. When he stepped off the ship, his fellow Americans spat on him and called him obscene names. He had said he was jealous of the support shown for active service men and women now.
He was awarded the Purple Heart and received multiple other distinguished medals, including the Bronze Star.
Somehow, this battle-hardened man landed in South Dakota where he met my grandmother.
Over the years, and especially since his strokes, my grandma has tried to reconstruct my step-grandfather’s service story. She recalls him telling her that he was once a prisoner of war. The only evidence of that, however, are the scars around his ankles, as though from shackles. Her task of puzzling together his story is made all the more difficult due to many of his records being lost in the great St. Louis fire of 1973.
But Grandma’s a fighter. Perhaps it’s that warrior spirit that drew Papa J (as he’s affectionately known to us grandkids) to her. Now, he has Grandma to fight his battles when he is no longer capable of doing so himself. She’s gone toe-to-toe with lots of people in the Department of Veterans Affairs on his behalf and has never taken no for an answer because she knows the sacrifices he’s made.
This Veterans Day, take a moment to thank all veterans for the sacrifices they’ve made. They fight for the freedoms you and I enjoy without even knowing we have them.
Many have been through a lot more than they’re willing to say.
More about who I am
Writing stories about people in my community I have come to realize I don’t know that many of you. As I said in my introduction article I have been in the Northeast part of SD for roughly eight years. I thought I would give a little more in depth about who I am.
It is not always easy living in a law enforcement family as we live in a glass bubble. I have always leaned towards being hidden. In a small community that doesn’t always work.
Things are expected of me and my family. If we say or do the wrong thing we are the first to be looked at but do not judge because someone has fallen on hard times. We know it happens and sometimes it happens to the best person who may have had a lapse in judgment. We do not judge someone who is trying.
We have children who have grown up and some who are still little. Raising children does not come with a manual. I don’t care how many self help books you read. Raising a toddler or raising a teenager is a struggle. I took a break from working outside of the home all together until my kids were in school because lets face it, it is hard.
I have anxiety. When you see me out and about in the community whether it is sitting in the bleachers at a game or walking through the halls of the school, my heart is beating a million miles an hour and most of the time I feel like I may throw up.
The kicker with my anxiety is I love people. I love talking to people and interacting with people. I love our small community and most of the time if you see my presence it is me forcing myself but at the end of the day it is always worth it.
You may see me at the grocery store or a gas station in town with my family. I will sometimes look frazzled and other times look put together. Time management is still a work in progress. I will eventually get there or maybe I won’t. I may just be the mom that is always late.
I have been through shared parenting, individual parenting and married to a wonderful man who I get to share kids with. I am not immune to the hurt and struggle of what it is like to be a part of a blended family. My husband and I live it everyday. I’ll continue this in my next column.
I have been lucky enough to be included in groups around our small community that help uplift and empower women. It makes me proud that I have been given the chance to call Webster my home.
I guess the reason for this weeks column is I am me. I can’t nor would I want to be anyone else. I am not ashamed to let you know who I am and some of the things I have been through. I know I am not alone.
Take the time to get to know your neighbor, struggling single mom, or someone that is new in town.