EDITORIAL: Stories that we can all be thankful for
Nachelle and George Whitmoyer reflect on losing their Washington Township home, which was destroyed in a fire last Thanksgiving. They celebrate the holiday this year with family, and work on making their new house into a home. (Lindsay VanAsdalan)
It was just one day, and just one newspaper, but on Friday, Nov. 24, The York Dispatch featured three separate stories to boost the spirits, soothe the soul and ease the mind.
They were tales of inspiration, resiliency and unity — traits that often seem in short supply in these divisive political times.
The stories couldn’t have been more timely, appearing just a day after Thanksgiving, which is often considered the official beginning of the holiday season.
Inspirational Shaw: The inspiration came from former Penn State linebacker Tim Shaw, 33, who is dealing courageously with the debilitating disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
There is no cure for ALS, and the prognosis for those with the disease is grim. Still, the ex-PSU standout, who also enjoyed a successful NFL career, hasn’t allowed his dark fate to dim his positive outlook. He’s become a motivational speaker and a wrote a book entitled “Blitz Your Life: Stories from an NFL and ALS Warrior.”
Despite his deteriorating condition, which includes muscle atrophy and slurred speech, Shaw took time out to speak with the current crop of Nittany Lions and offer them some words of wisdom on what is truly important in life.
“About three years ago, I was given a diagnosis. And with that diagnosis, I was given a gift,” Shaw told the team. “I was given the gift of perspective.”
Resilient couple: Then there was the story of the Washington Township couple who learned on Thanksgiving eve of 2016 that their house was destroyed in a fire.
Nachelle Whitmoyer and her husband, George, were on their way to Virginia Beach to visit her daughter when they received the dreadful news.
It was a terrible way to start the holidays.
A year later, however, their once-devastating story has a now-happy ending.
With the help of many family and friends, and their own hard work and resiliency, the Whitmoyers are now in a new two-story, modular home built on the same property as their original Bentz Mill Road home.
"The amount of people that helped us was just unbelievable, " George Whitmoyer said. "We never knew we had that many friends."
Unified front: Finally, there was the 21st annual Turkey Trot in the City of York.
More than 5,000 folks — young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican — raced side by side in the city in one of York County’s true feel-good events.
A quick glance through the photos showed folks were dressed up in all sorts of holiday-themed costumes. Smiles were abundant and, for at least a day, political arguments were put aside.
A merry time was seemingly had by all.
We were one community unified by our love for turkey, running and fun.
It was a beautiful sight to see.
It would be even better if we could see more such events.
Or if we could read more such stories such as the ones produced by Shaw and the Whitmoyers.
For one day, and one newspaper, the Friday after Thanksgiving was truly something special.
For that, we can all be thankful.