The Highest Rating in Heart Surgery
Three Times Over
At Lexington Medical Heart and Vascular Center, we’re proud to receive our third three-star rating for heart surgery — the highest measure of quality awarded by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
We’re honored to be recognized for our patient care and outcomes in three types of heart surgery. Fewer than 10% of hospitals in the country earn this elite distinction, and we’re proud to be included among them.
At Lexington Medical Heart and Vascular Center, we renew lives every day. And our quality ratings mean you can get the best heart care anywhere — right here at home.
With the dawn of the new year millions of well-intentioned folks make New Year’s Resolutions that they feel will make a positive difference in their lives for the year 2023. A resolution is a commitment to follow through with a goal, from start to finish.
Personally, I have found that if I HAVE to do something, I am much less likely to continue the process. However, if I adopt an attitude that I GET to do something, I am much more likely to continue the process long term.
At first, I was shocked that changing one single word within my thought process could produce such a dramatic positive change. I now feel fortunate to do things versus feeling obligated to do things. It really works for me, and I encourage you to try replacing HAVE with GET in your vocabulary and see if it works for you.
Thanks for reading Lexington Life Magazine. We are entering our twentieth year of bringing the best that Lexington has to offer to your mailbox every month. Lexington has changed a lot over the past 20 years. I remember when traffic at the Rush’s intersection would sometimes back up to Wendy’s and when the dam was one lane in each direction and traffic would back up to Wingard’s Market.
Progress was made improving these prior “hot spots” and continual progress must be made to allow Lexington to grow and breathe into the future. We GET to do that.
The Community of Faith
I came to Lexington in 1988 as the Minister of Music for Lexington Baptist Church. A little overs 6 years ago I became the Pastor for Sr. Adults & Congregational Care. Since the 1700s there has been a community of faith in the Lexington area.
The Town of Lexington was established in 1861, but St. Stephens Lutheran Church began in 1830. Lexington United Methodist Church began in 1850. St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church began in 1902. Lexington Baptist began in 1893. Today there are 85 churches in Lexington representing 26 denominations.
Lexington has a population of 23,568. It is safe to say the majority of Lexingtonians profess a spiritual faith in God of some kind. But as the Apostle wrote in James 2:14-18 (NKJV), “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus, also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
So, what we do in this earthly walk matters to God. I am thankful for Mission Lexington located at 216 Harmon Street. Formerly known as LICS (Lexington Interfaith Community Services), Mission Lexington’s number of needs met annually is around 25,000! However, the Bible teaches that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in him, not by our works, lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9). But what is it that you who believe in Jesus Christ want to hear the Father say to you after you die? “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” What in your life was done well? I believe He will be referring to our obedience to His commands. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” These are critical days in the history of mankind as we approach the Second Coming of Christ and the time of the Tribulation. We must have faith within our hearts, but we must be “doers of the Word and not hearers only” (James 1:22). Commit yourself to do all that the Bible says to do and you will hear, “Well done!” n
Dr. Gerrita Postlewait
Lexington County School District One is guaranteed to have a pros perous new year with Dr. Gerrita Postlewait, the newly appointed Super intendent, at the helm. “I am honored to officially join such a dynamic school district,” she says. “I am excited to serve the students and staff as we continue this important work.” The board unanimously selected Dr. Postlewait to serve as superintendent after her interim term with the district that began in July of 2021.
During her early years, Dr. Postlewait earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D from West Virginia University. Due to her hus band’s career, she relocated several times; each new start provided fresh opportunities to teach and offer guidance in urban, suburban and ru ral communities. Diligence, hard work and sac rifice are not new to Dr. Postlewait; an immense amount of research regarding cultural aware ness, health, history and heritage are required to develop educational programs and resourc es to accommodate shifting demographics and economies. She explains that moving frequent ly and adapting to new environments gave her a sense of the breadth of the system. “You had to learn how to fit in wherever you moved, to make yourself useful. I think that’s really the best description of what a servant leader does. You pledge your devotion to a system, to serve it and look out for it, then try to figure out how to make yourself most helpful, given where a district is at any particular time. It’s like the leader of a family, or any other institution, where you’re trying to help people achieve their goal.”
Having served as public-school superintendent for over twenty-two years in three different districts, Dr. Postlewait brings with her not only an overwhelming amount of experience, but also a personal commitment to students, staff and their families. “The values that I grew up with are the fundamental values of this community. I feel very comfortable here, and I value this community. I hope in time that they will come to appreciate my efforts.” She is excited, dedicated and eager to serve, “I love the work; it truly is God’s work.”
“Lexington is a little piece of heaven,” Dr. Postlewait remarks. “I feel so comfortable here, like going full circle back to my roots.” The future is bright for the students, employees, and affiliates of Lexington County School District One, and the sky is the limit. Dr. Postlewait has full faith in the power of education and believes that teachers are the key to student success: “People cannot begin to appreciate everything that teachers do. We must regain pride in the profession to restore admiration for teachers and attract quality candidates. Teachers should hold a place of respect in our communities. I aim to help them recapture that.” n
The Problem with Resolutionsby Candace White
At the start of January, many people make New Year’s resolutions. At that time, they are eager to begin and believe their efforts will bring lasting results. Unfortunately, most will lose their motivation within a few weeks or months due to unreachable goals and impossible deadlines. The taste of failure instantly takes them back to the same old, unhealthy behaviors and unwanted habits. Sometimes the trauma from repeatedly falling short of these unrealistic resolutions can manifest into new negative habits, dangerous impulsive actions, unhealthy addictions, or self-loathing.
If you want to make a resolution that “rocks your world” permanently, rather than simply entertaining the idea for a few weeks or months, challenge yourself to look at the goal in a different perspective. Is your intention to improve yourself physically, financially or emotionally, to benefit your family, mankind or the environment, or are you secretly trying to impress someone for personal gain or pride? Once you have evaluated your initial intentions and have chosen a particular resolution, you must reinforce the desire with lifestyle changes that support and develop the particular goal one step at a time. The resolution examples below will show you how to make the changes permanent; if your resolution is not listed here, apply the basic process to the situation and make it work—OWN IT!
You may choose to help the environment and be more eco-friendly this new year. People with similar New Year’s resolutions try hard to make a positive impact but rarely know where to start. There are many ways to be eco-friendly, and it’s hard to figure out which method to embrace. You might give up if your plan is too broad and undefined.
Rather than attempting to transform all of your current behaviors into “green” behaviors at one time, begin small. Alter just a few basic habits to improve the environment. Once you have mastered these first
few changes, you can add more detailed steps to your plan. You could buy local produce to reduce your carbon footprint and support your community, for instance, and select purchases that aren’t in plastic containers. You could take a vacation in the country where you live, plant a tree, or swap paper bills for online billing. These seemingly minor changes add up quickly and make a huge impact in the long run.
Ah, the proverbial, inevitable, classic desire to look and feel better inside and out. People often decide to lose weight by following a restrictive diet, visiting the gym, and thinking about their goal incessantly. At first, their enthusiasm is high, and they are confident that they will succeed. Later, though, their grueling, joyless diet and exercise regimen doesn’t seem so glamorous or fun. They slow down, make a few mistakes, and soon quit. Does this scenario sound familiar?
If you want to shed pounds safely and become slimmer and healthier, forget the bleak, rigorous exercise programs and the obsessive yo-yo diet plans. This “all or nothing”, hardcore, unforgiving mentality creates a negative emotion related to the goal, and usually results in failure, quickly destroying hope and confidence.
However, if you choose to perform a few small, but effective actions that are barely noticeable to other people, a new positive habit is born that will give you long-term gains. For example, it’s easy to take the stairs rather than the lift, you can eat from a smaller plate without experiencing distress, you can make smarter food choices and schedule a weekly meal preparation day. Also, you could take an evening stroll or engage in a hobby that naturally burns calories and builds muscle such as gardening or kayaking. Such lifestyle tweaks can help you reduce weight permanently, increase energy, boost immunity and provide longevity.
Increase wealth and save money
Do you want to increase your wealth or not struggle as much in the new year? It’s ok to think big but be careful. Many people who make the New Year’s resolution to get rich struggle with burnout before their efforts ever begin to bear fruit. Often, they overwork and over commit until they are too physically stressed and physically exhausted to keep up the pace.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with hard work; you could stay at your desk longer and take fewer vacations. However, rather than adopt practices that seem like punishment or that you know you can’t con-
Spring is just around the corner after the new year dawns, and many people begin to dream of love and security, second chances, soul mates, and new prospects. Other than meeting potential partners through dating apps, which is often successful, there are other, less invasive and expensive ways to find someone special.
The easiest way to meet new people and scout for a partner is to frequent different places. Get out of your comfort zone--go to areas you don’t often visit and events that you might not usually attend, have a picnic in the park rather than sit alone in your office or car for lunch, join an evening art or music class, volunteer in your local community, and last, but not least, ask your friends to introduce you to their friends you’ve not yet met.
This new year, make small, doable lifestyle changes that won’t create undue stress or cause you to compare yourself to others, creating feelings of inadequacy. Focus on YOU--examine yourself physically and mentally, develop a realistic, individ-
tinue long term, why not tweak your money habits? Get creative. Eliminate monthly subscriptions you really don’t need or use, cook at home more, avoid convenience store purchases, buy quality second-hand garments when possible, swap nights out on the town for game nights at home. Consider ways to make small yet significant changes that add up over the year. Doing so might not make you an instant millionaire, but it will make you wealthier as time passes.
ual plan with small steps for your resolution and find an accountability partner if possible. Throw away any New Year’s resolutions that are designed to attract attention or praise, follow the latest trends, promise instant success, promote high risk activities, or raise ethical questions. Adopting workable, honorable measures that improve your life gradually will not only give you peace of mind but will help you become more like the person you desire to be.n
Welcome to the next generation of senior living.
Still Hopes offers spacious apartments and free-standing cottages for engaged and independent senior living, along with a full spectrum of supportive care, including assisted living, memory support and nursing care.
Still Hopes strives for the welfare and health of the greater community by serving others through its on-campus services and Solutions for Living At Home program.
“Cornhole is not just a backyard game anymore, it’s a competitive sport which people of all skill levels can enjoy. The cornhole craze is sweeping the nation, especially the Midlands. Cornerstone to the cornhole craze is the fellowship and comradery that is second to none. Please come out and see what the hype is all about. You can expect to see 40+ folks every Wednesday who enjoy good company and competition.” --Michael Hamlin, Lexington Cornhole League Member
Do you have a set of cornhole boards in your backyard or garage? Do you tailgate with personalized boards to promote your team or business? Perhaps you occasionally toss a few bags while waiting for an order at your favorite restaurant or while grilling at home? Cornhole is quickly becoming more than just a traditional lawn game as it gains momentum, followers and enthusiasts. This addictive sport has not only attracted the attention of people in the midlands, but also professional sports platforms, mainstream celebrities, major broadcast net-by Kim Becknell Williams
LEXINGTON Recreation with Competition
works and powerful sponsors nationwide with prizes of up to $15,000. There is even a rumor of cornhole being considered as a potential Olympic sport in the next decade!
Even though The Lexington Cornhole League (LCL) was established during the pandemic in 2020, interest did not wane, but was instead fueled by the catastrophe. When other sports games had to be shutdown, cornhole competitors kept playing, grateful for the 27 feet of social distancing already built into the game rules. Neighbors Jeff Bernagozzi and Brian Wilchenski, who had participated in local cornhole tournaments for over a year at that point in time, came up with the idea of creating a league for Lexington. “We started it since we were playing competitive…to elevate the level of play,” Bernagozzi explained. “We put it out on Facebook; that first night we had eight people show up and ran our first tournament; in a month it had grown from eight to 28. We started the cornhole league September 1, 2020, at LJ’s Bar & Grill.” Growing pains and inclement weather moved the
“It’s a family, it’s fellowship. Having something available every week provides a place to get away.”
— Brian Wilchenski, LCL CoFounder
league to play for a year at The Bodyshop Baseball facility. Tournaments are currently held each week at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays at Intense Volleyball located at 109 Fabrister Lane in Lexington. Wilchenski said the director, Jerry Dorneker, has been very accommodating and the venue offers the space and accessibility they so desperately needed.
One very distinct advantage of cornhole is that it provides instant, convenient, wholesome entertainment for many different ages and abilities. Previous experience, rigorous training, strength conditioning or expensive equipment is not required for a friendly game, making it the perfect “ice breaker” or team building exercise for both business and corporate functions, bridging the gap between leaders and employees. Civic, religious, school and charity groups are also beginning to join the cornhole bandwagon, realizing how many members already enjoy playing the game and would like to benefit a worthy cause in the process. Another strong appeal of the game is that it carries a low risk for injury--instead of horseshoes, badminton or croquet equipment, many event venues, restaurants and vacation rentals now maintain a set of cornhole boards and bean bags for their guests.
Bernagozzi estimates roughly 500 people have played in LCL at some point during the last 2 years. Potential members only need a common interest in cornhole, time to devote to practice each week, and the willingness to be patient, present and learn. Players quickly become accustomed to the characteristic sounds of beanbags smacking, sliding, and thudding onto wooden boards. The $20 entry fee to compete is used to cover administrative expenses, rental fees, basic equipment, maintenance and upgrades, etc. With ages ranging from 9 years old to over 80, each week brings an interesting combination of competition and charisma; good, clean, fun. Roughly 50 people attend each practice; some are regulars and others drop-in randomly when they have free time. Wilchenski, who has played cornhole for 10-12 years, said, “Bags are flying by 7:30. Everyone who attends plays cornhole.” A software system determines player expertise/level brackets and divisions to ensure that players are matched with worthy opponents. An app called “Scoreholio” organizes, updates and maintains a database of cornhole events so that players have the important details at their fingertips at any given moment, which is
especially useful for locating and navigating tournaments when traveling.
“We have nine sets of boards, score towers and tablets for live scoring, and we livestream through Facebook.” Bernagozzi said. “All players are guaranteed at least four games. We play what’s called a 4 round “Round Robin” meaning in the first 4 rounds, you are paired randomly with a different partner each game. At the end of those 4 rounds, the top 20 players (based on win/loss record then points) advance to the championship bracket,” Bernagozzi continues. “In this bracket you are paired with another player based on ranking in the Round Robin and play a double elimination tournament to determine the winner. Players ranked 21-40 from the Round Robin advance into the consolation bracket, where they’re randomly paired with a partner and play a double elimination tournament as well.”
LCL members Angel Camarena and Avery Snipes recently came in first place at the ACL (American Cornhole Association) Open #1 tournament, which qualified them to compete in the College National Championship to be held at the end of the season representing The University of South Carolina. Many competitive players take the game seriously and have made amazing progress through the weekly practices. “A few of our guys are some of the best in the state,” Wilchenski said. “We provide the
GENERAL BASICS OF CORNHOLE
Practice makes perfect! Basic essential equipment required for a game of cornhole is minimal: eight 6 x 6-inch bags filled with 1 pound of corn (4 bags of each color for each team), and a cornhole board that is 2 feet wide x 4 feet long. Two cornhole boards are placed on a flat surface 27 feet apart, front to front. Players gain points by tossing the bags into the hole or onto the board near the hole. Points are given for bags that go through the hole, bags that land on the playing surface and bags that hang off the edge of the board but do not touch the ground. The colorful square bags may slowly slide into the hole, be knocked into a hole by another bag, or simply land on the board. Hand and eye coordination, motor skills and depth perception are crucial.
competition. Watching people grow from not winning a game to being one of the best in the league and nationally competitive is a big positive. It gives all players an opportunity to sharpen their skills against good and worthy competition.
“We are grateful for all the wonderful new friends we have met over the last two years,” Bernagozzi remarks. “Most of our LCL players truly look forward to our weekly tournaments to not only improve their game but also socialize with what has become our LCL family. We are excited to watch and support as some of our advanced players move up the ranks into Pro Status. Two of our members, Tommy Sliker and Jonathan Peckham are incredible players and will hopefully be competing on ESPN in the near future.”
Bernagozzi and Wilchenski are personally invested in the league and express their deep appreciation for the overwhelming amount of support and encouragement it has received from the community—both residential and business. “I’d like to mention the great people at The Bodyshop Baseball and Intense Volleyball for welcoming the league into their facilities and really allowing it to grow,” Bernagozzi said. “It’s a community of players, a group of people just gathering together.” Aside from conducting and assisting with tournaments, many of the organizers, players and their families actively participate in cornhole fundraisers for various local charities. When referring to the league, Wilchenski says, “It’s a family, it’s fellowship. Having something available every week provides a place to get away.”
As for the future of LCL, “We’re looking to expand to more days and keep supporting our players that play competitively,” continues Bernagozzi. “We have about 3-4 players who are close to becoming pros.” The league will continue to invite new people to give cornhole a shot. “Eventually we would like to host a tournament one night a week that only focuses on beginning players.” For schedules, announcements, registration information and rank advancements, visit Lexington Cornhole League’s Facebook page or stop by Intense Volleyball at 109B Fabrister Lane in Lexington on Wednesday nights to catch a game.n
4586 Sunset Blvd. | Lexington, SC (855) 694-5553 | (803) 490-6070 | camposws.dadavidsonfa.com
Pancho Villa’s Fighting South Carolina Gamecocksby Tom Poland
I’ll file this column under the category, Fowl History. Did Mexican Revolutionary War General, Pancho Villa, ride a train to Calhoun Falls, South Carolina to buy fighting gamecocks? Did he? Read on to unravel this tale of fighting gamecocks in the early 1900s. And read on, knowing I thank Emily and Laura Hester for their knowledge and proof of this unusual story. Hop aboard now. In the late 1880s the Savannah Valley Railroad ran through Calhoun Falls. The rail ceased service sometime later but apparently one could still get a train up that way, for in the
early 1900s Pancho Villa rode the train to Calhoun Falls. There a famous cockfighter, Samuel “Tobe” Hester, kept pens filled with fighting chickens. Pancho Villa, real name, Doroteo Arango, wanted a pen of his own.
One Mrs. Henry Hester recalled that Pancho Villa stayed at the old hotel in Calhoun Falls while his men stayed in railroad cars on sidetracks along the depot. Villa, of course, had his own private railcar, but the old hotel, which looked like a five-star resort, suited Villa.
As the chicken transaction took place, locals gathered at the depot to hear Villa’s men sing Spanish songs while cooking supper. As they crooned, the train platform held crates of gamecocks bound for
Rooster lodging in Hester, South Carolina, near Calhoun Falls.Photo of men and rooster courtesy of Laura Hester. Photo of ceramic piece courtesy of Emily Hester.
Mexico, not the mortal frying pan.
Photos of Pancho Villa’s fighting gamecocks in Calhoun Falls endure. In a grainy, soft focus, black and white image we see a Mexican in a suit and tie wearing what seems a Panama hat. He’s holding a gamecock perfect enough to adorn the USC block C logo. Three men flank him, one being Tobe Hester, perhaps. Another photo shows the depot, well pump and tank, and along the horizon the Tobe Hester house and many a pen housing roosters fit for a revolutionary.
Yet another photo, found online, shows Pancho Villa and his fighting men standing with their rifles by their side. All wear bandoliers filled with ammunition. Fighting chickens and fighting men soon to do battle. The caption reads, “Pancho Villa comes to Calhoun Falls. Picture of Pancho and his men who made many trips up to Calhoun falls, S.C. to buy some Hester fighting chickens.”
Pancho Villa came by his blood sport ways in an honest manner. Violence ran through his veins. The son of a field laborer, he found himself orphaned at an early age. When the owner of the estate where
Pancho worked assaulted his sister, Pancho killed him and fled to the mountains where he spent his adolescence as a fugitive. Later he dodged a death sentence when a stay of execution sent him to prison instead. He’d go on to govern the state of Chihuahua and emerge as a victorious leader of the Mexican Revolution helping to end Victoriano Huerta’s regime. Later, when Villa and revolutionary co-leader Carranza turned on each other, Pancho Villa killed 17 U.S. citizens at Santa Isabel, Chihuahua, to send Carranza a message. “Don’t mess with a rooster-fighting revolutionary.”
Pancho walked the hard streets of life. He had little education but demonstrated skill as a soldier and organizer of men. Killing was in his blood, and he made for an effective revolutionary. Years later, Pancho Villa would suffer a fate similar to his roosters.
Pancho’s fighting gamecocks are long gone. Some died in combat. Others retired, too tough, perchance, for the frying pan. And Pancho? Assassins ambushed him July 20, 1923, in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico. Just 45 years old, he died in a barrage of bullets. n
Lieutenant Danielle McCord
The Heart Beneath the Badgeby Marilyn Thomas
With a grandfather and father who served in the military, and a stepfather who was a police officer, protecting others has always been natural for Danielle McCord, a lieutenant in the Cayce Police Department. “Serving was embedded in my soul early on in my life,” she says. A Gilbert High School graduate with a bright future and many influential family role models, Lt. McCord dreamed of attending law school. She wanted to become an attorney so she could “advocate for juveniles placed in the system and one day become a family court judge.” However, “God’s plan, which we sometimes do not agree with or understand, was different,” she says.
Surviving domestic violence in her first marriage motivated Lt. McCord to choose a different career path than what she originally envisioned. “It was not an easy process for someone with no knowledge of the system,” she explains,” and I decided that I wanted to be that voice for someone else and the one to lead them through a very complicated and scary criminal justice process.” To that end, Lt. McCord entered the field of law enforcement as a dispatcher and became an officer with the Cayce Police Department
as soon as she met the age and other eligibility requirements. Correspondingly, she also acquired an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice and has since been pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
“The why I do it part is huge for me,” explains Lt. McCord. “I do this job because it’s in my heart. Every part of my being wants to be out there in the community making a positive impact. I do it because it’s a calling, and it takes a very special person with a very special heart to face evil every single day. I do it because if I can change the life of one person every time I suit up, then I know I have accomplished the mission.” While navigating this challenging profession, Lt. McCord’s vocational approach has been systematic, conscientious, and intentional. “It was important to me to work in every division in the agency to ensure that I had knowledge of every moving part and could efficiently do each job,” she says. Several areas within the Cayce Police Department where she has served include Victim Services, the Patrol Division, and the Investigative Division. “I felt like having knowledge of each role would make me a better supervisor one day.”
Her goal of attaining a supervisory position was achieved when, in 2020, she was the first female to be promoted to sergeant in Cayce in the past twenty years. In 2021, she was advanced again to the rank of lieutenant and, as such, became the first female to do so in the history of the agency. Some might say that Lt. McCord has defied the odds. “Every career has challenges,” explains Lt. McCord. “I would say one of the biggest ones in this profession is being a female trying to find your place in a male-dominant profession. You have to really find your place, work harder at times, and step up even when people are expecting you to fail. You have to be confident in who you are and who you want to be. Lead by example every single day and do not accept defeat or failure. You have to always remember your success is up to you and people count on you to be the best that you can be every single day.” To women who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, she offers this advice: “You are in total control of your career. Work hard, go after, and master every goal you set for yourself. Be confident and do not let anyone steal your joy or make you feel less adequate. Be fearless and stay in control of your career path. Females are absolutely needed in this profession and bring many different attributes to the table.”
Currently Lt. McCord is the lieutenant over the Community Services Division and in this role she must fulfill several essential duties. These duties include, but are not limited to supervising social media communications, assisting with public information officer duties, alongside operations under the title of public affairs officer. Additionally, she supervises the Community Outreach Policing Services (C.O.P.S.) unit and the School Resource Officers’ (SRO) team. “Community is a big part of my job,” asserts Lt. McCord. “Our agency hosts many community events during the year. These events build trust and strengthen relationships within our community, and it’s so important that we do that.” According to the Cayce Police Department’s website at caycepd.com, the mission of C.O.P.S. is to create positive community relationships with busi-
nesses and nonprofit organizations within Cayce, so that together, these partnerships can improve the quality of life for local citizens by focusing on crime prevention, citizen education, community involvement, and meeting the needs of people in distress.
In the SRO Division, the department collaborates with city, county, and state officials to identify and apply best practices that promote school safety, security, intervention/prevention, deterrence, and emergency preparedness planning. “I firmly believe that I work alongside the BEST SROs in the state,” Lt. McCord says. “They each are committed to being a servant and to making a difference every single day. They each pour themselves into their schools, building relationships, mentoring students, supporting students, and effecting change. My team does not just work an 8-5. We attend our students’ graduations, baby showers, weddings, christenings, etc., after hours because we
“I love the community aspect I love being able to show the can be trusted, we do care,
want to show them that we are there for them.”
Because of their personal dedication to fulfilling their responsibilities, Lt. McCord and her team of officers have received notable accolades for their service. In 2021, Lt. McCord was honored with the Midlands Region SRO of the Year Award, and in 2022, she was selected as the Supervisor of the Year and her unit was recognized as the SRO Unit of the Year. Also in 2022, Governor Henry McMaster presented her with the Order of the Palmetto, the highest South Carolina civilian honor given for service and achievements. “My team works incredibly hard day in and day out,” says Lt. McCord. “They are the ones doing the heavy lifting, and they deserve to be recognized every single day.”
“I have been fortunate to work for and alongside many amazing leaders in my time here,” adds Lt. McCord. “In the last year, our department had a change in leadership. Chief Cowan came in and promoted me, along with several others, to lieutenant. Chief has pushed me WAY out of my comfort zone at times and forced me to think outside the box and afforded me so many opportunities to be a better person, a better officer, and a better leader.” Other positive changes within the department in the recent past include re-accreditation through the South Carolina Law Enforcement Accreditation Council. In addition, Chief Cowan successfully acquired electronic bikes and an electronic car for the agency. “The E-car is my vehicle,” says Lt. McCord. “I have really enjoyed the Tesla, thus far, and I am hoping that we add some more to our fleet in the future. This innovation, the first of its kind in South Carolina, is important. IT [information technology] shows that we are committed to finding partnerships that save the taxpayers money. It shows that we are committed to finding new ways to police. It shows that we are committed to caring not only about putting the bad guys in jail but also about our environment and about our future leaders: our children.” When not in uniform, Lt. McCord, who is married and a mother of five, coaches volleyball at Busbee Creative Arts Academy. “This year we were named the 2022 Eastern Division
Champions,” she says. “It was important to me for my kids to see us outside of our uniforms, so several in my unit coach different sports—it’s really been a game-changer.”
As she moves forward, Lt. McCord intends to “make myself the best version of me that I can be” for the force and the community, and this involves continuing her education and completing Law Enforcement Executive Development Association classes through the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She also hopes to be promoted to captain before retirement. “This has been a rewarding career,” she says. “I love the community aspect and being able to give back. I love being able to show the community that the police can be trusted, we do care, we love our communities, we are invested in the growth of our communities, and, also, that we are human beings outside of the uniform.” n
and being able to give back. community that the police we love our communities...”
Smart Ways to Cut your Heating Billby Brandon Watson
The weather outside is frightful, and you feel like curling up on the couch with a warm blanket. Cold weather can be inconvenient and so are the heating bills that go with it. Fortunately, there are several things you can safely do to cut your heating bill this winter, depending on a few key factors. You must first take into consideration any people that live with you along with each person’s individual schedule, personal needs, and physical limitations. Here are some tried and tested tips that will help you save on your heating bill when the temperatures drop.
Calibrate and/or upgrade your thermostat
This may be obvious to you, but it’s a good idea to examine and test the existing thermostat. Is the house temperature reading colder than the thermostat displays? Check the battery, clean any sensors and try to determine how old it is; thermostats last about 10 years. Make sure that there are no major sources of cold or heat near the thermostat that could affect the performance or
reading. Sometimes it is just a matter of recalibration—refer to your heater’s manual for the proper steps or contact a local HVAC service.
Another option is to purchase a programmable thermostat to help reduce energy usage and the cost of running the heater. These devices allow you to set temperatures for certain times of day, or even for set days of the week. For example, you could have the heat turn up when you get home from work and then turn it off once everyone’s asleep, so heat isn’t wasted overnight. There’s no point in adding to your heating costs during times you’re at work and aren’t home to take advantage of the warm and cozy temperature. Adjusting your temperature settings by a few degrees will result in substantial savings over a year; start now and see how much you’ve saved by the end of the winter. It’s a no-brainer.
Cut it off or down when no one is home
This suggestion is controversial, depending on each individual situation. If
you don’t want to use a programmable thermostat, shut the heat completely off, or turn the thermostat down substantially when you’re away from home for 5 hours or more. Of course, you will need to be prepared and patient when you return home to a frigid house, but it can be worth this small inconvenience if done correctly. You don’t need a warm, cozy house when no one is home, and the savings over time can be substantial. Why waste the money heating an empty house?
Evaluate existing doors and windows
Many new homes may not have been properly designed or prepared for cold weather with the necessary materials to prevent warm air from leaking out of the windows or to prevent cold air from filtering in through the doors or ventilation. Older homes may simply have outdated doors and windows that may need to be replaced or upgraded. A few hours spent examining your home and making the necessary adjustments or applications
can save quite a bit on your heating bill by reducing heat loss.
Tighten up all the doors in your house to prevent heat from seeping through cracks. Caulk can be applied around windows that are not exactly flush with the wall or completely sealed. Weatherstripping materials and door draft stops are relatively cheap to buy and easy to install with a bit of research and care. Even if you have to hire someone to do it for you, the money saved long term will be worth it. One other note: open blinds and insulated curtains during sunny, cold days to let in warmth and close them to trap in heat at night.
Double up on insulation
If you think you are spending too much on heating bills, you may need to increase or replace existing insulation. Over time insulation in your house or attic naturally wears down and may even flatten out, rendering the material useless. As heat rises in an under-insulated or unsealed home, it escapes through gaps in the ceiling or can be lost through the top of an attic. It might seem like an expensive option at first glance but consider the cost savings of new or additional insulation over many winters. There are many different types of insulation and various ways to apply it yourself with a bit of research. According to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, 9 out of 10 homes could benefit from extra insulation.
Close Off Unused Spaces
Another obvious solution to reducing your heating bill is to completely close off any room, unused fireplace or attic space that is not routinely utilized. That way heat will stay concentrated in the parts of your home where you spend the most time and you’ll save money heating less space. This is a great way to ensure that heat goes ONLY where you want it--into the areas that are most frequently used.
Clean air ducts and replace air filters
If your home is more than 10 years old and hasn’t had its air ducts cleaned, do so now. Dust buildup in your vents can reduce air flow by as much as 20 percent, which means your furnace has to work harder and longer to heat your home adequately, resulting in higher heating bills all winter long! Also, dirty air ducts and filters can harbor mold, bacteria, and oth-
er microscopic mites that can trigger or amplify serious health problems like asth ma and allergies.
Consider a Solar Water Heater
If you want to make sure you never have to worry about paying your heating bill, con sider purchasing a solar water heater. Solar water heaters are ef ficient, and they can help reduce your heating costs substantially by harvesting the sun’s energy to heat your home. The amount of money you can save by using solar heating depends on your location, the size of your home, and the amount of sunlight your area receives in win ter months. Also consider other factors like how much and what kind of fuel you’re buying and whether government incen tives exist to lower installation costs. It’s a reliable alternative to other heating methods that will help you save money and protect the environment.
The Bottom Line
Of course, there are easy, “quick fixes” to temporarily be come warmer indoors, such as using a fireplace or space heat er that is in working condition, wearing more clothing or using more blankets on your bed. However, repeated use of a space heater will eventually become expensive, daily open fires will re quire several loads of wood and must be monitored closely, and often layering yourself in bulky clothing or blankets can be uncomfortable or not aesthetically pleasing.
For a more permanent, efficient solution to reduce your heating bill, refer to the tips above. If these tips do not seem to help, or only one area seems to stay cold in the house, it may be time to contact an expert to examine the entire system. Other than being clogged, dirty or broken, the unit itself could be too small or large to effectively heat your home, or it could be defective and overworking while operating at a minimal level. Be smart and you can safely and significantly reduce the cost of heating your living environment. n
WE CARE CENTER
Community Interfaith Outreach
Many of these families had fallen on hard times due to job loss, a death in the family, addiction, medical issues, disabilities, etc. Emergency nourishment was usually priority for these families and having none or little transportation opportunities presented a huge challenge as they wandered aimlessly from church to church seeking help. A central location was required to combine the efforts of the churches as well as evenly distribute support; the goal was not only to feed people, but minister to their hearts and develop relationships. A method had to be created to evaluate potential recipients, determine eligibility, and assess the level of need. The churches worked together to establish a foundational program, and the We Care Center was incorporated in 1986.
ers they relocated to a home owned by St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church. The We Care Center became an official nonprofit at that time, successfully serving needy people in Chapin and surrounding areas. Another wonderful development came later—a free medical clinic moved in next to the center to help each patient find hope and healing.
Serving the Communityby Natalie
While the ministry was off the ground and running out of the old Chapin United Methodist Church building, it wasn’t until later when the group received their 501c3 nonprofit status. Soon more space was needed; with generous contributors and support-
The community interfaith outreach center serves roughly 700 people each month. It is a network of various donors and supporting churches with a passion to not only see disadvantaged people survive and become independent, but to flourish and become a valuable part of the community. In addition to food items there are several other types of assistance available: a mobile food unit/truck, vouchers for propane, kerosene and gasoline, vouchers for utilities, scholarships, holiday programs and clothing and household product vouchers.
Assistance and guidance is provided to those who admit they have a pressing need, and take responsibility of their situation by asking for help. Seeking help is the first step and can involve a lot of humility for people who have never been in dire circumstances. “We won’t turn away people,” said Alecia Klauk, Director of We Care Center. Clients will be required to provide evidence of monthly income and expenses; assistance is confidential and begins as soon as the application is completed to meet immediate needs. Klauk explains that federal poverty guidelines are implemented, but even if someone falls slightly above the guidelines and is in a situation that expenses exceed income, the center will provide assistance. Food and/or healthcare products are provided once every 30 days.
Harvest Hope is a partner of the 16-foot refrigerated mobile food truck and items are distributed through a planned route on the first, second and third Tuesdays of the month. As you can imagine, the mobile truck was especially pivotal during the pan-
The humble beginnings of the We Care Center in Chapin began in a closet. There were several churches, schools and businesses that desired to provide basic living needs to disadvantaged families and individuals in the Chapin, Little Mountain, Prosperity, Pomaria, Peak and White Rock communities.
demic. When the mobile unit goes out into the community, names or identifying information if not required—it is totally based on the Honor Code. Only the number of people living in the home is required so that items can be fairly distributed.
On the first Tuesday the mobile food unit heads out to Prosperity Park in which the Prosperity Police Department gets involved delivering boxes to people they know are unable to be there themselves. Klauk said the Prosperity Police Department has been a huge asset in helping the community. On the second Tuesday the truck ventures out to Living Hope Foundation in Newberry, and on the third Tuesday the unit travels to Whitmire Community Center in Whitmire, the longest distance away from the pantry. In some situations, local “mom and pop” grocery stores were forced to close their doors during the pandemic and some did not reopen. Disadvantaged people living in rural areas often do not have the luxury of traveling 20-25 miles to the nearest operating grocery store.
While there is poverty in the Chapin and surrounding areas that people may not be familiar with or don’t want to talk about, the We Care center is determined to offer hope to people in desperate situations. One unexpected service that people may not be aware of is a limited pet care clinic. Last year over 75 animals were served absolutely free. It is sad to imagine a child not having a pet or losing a pet due to lack of funds for health care, shots and food. Klauk says the clients they serve are like family, “Some clients come to hang out and drink a cup of coffee; some come one time. And then there are clients, especially senior citizens on a limited income, who need assistance throughout the year. There are also families who just need occasional, supplemental support,” she mentions. The clientele range is wide and varied, but the organization helps however they can and whoever they can. “There’s a lot of poverty in Chapin,” said Klauk, adding,
“There are people within 10 miles from here without electricity and running water. There are a lot of people in desperate need here.”
Success stories are loved by the center’s staff and that success may look very different from person to person. Sometimes success means not having to return for assistance because a job was secured, or a family member overcame an addiction or injury. In one instance a client was grateful for services rendered so she volunteered to give back; this person moved away and was asked to direct a food ministry in a new location. The domino effect of giving from the heart was motivated because We Care offered a glint of hope to someone in need. While success stories make the workers and volunteers at the organization all warm and fuzzy inside, there are sad stories too. It’s not uncommon for clients to suddenly disappear after being led down the wrong path, giving up on their situation, or after facing a serious illness or injury. Because of the close-knit bonds that are formed through the interactions giving and receiving, the staff considers the clients family and will often attend funerals.
The organization has been quite blessed to receive food or monetary donations from the Chapin community through local
schools, civic programs, residents and businesses. In addition to Harvest Hope, there are restaurants and grocery stores contributing to the pantry on a regular basis. Klauk says the local Little Caesar’s Pizza and Chick-fil-a often support the pantry in addition to Chapin’s Publix and Lowe’s Foods who regularly contribute excess food items. While the food pantry is the backbone of the organization, it’s not the only one. Klauk mentions their holiday programs hosted in collaboration with local churches are incredible. For Thanksgiving, the organization can serve up to 1,000 people for a meal. At Christmas the organization connects sponsors with children. The sponsors buy a gift for the child or family. However,
it is the family who wraps and presents the gift to the child, which Klauk mentions is important for the family who may be unable to afford gifts.
To lend a helping hand, apply for assistance, or make a donation, browse their website, send an email or visit the pantry. Rest assured that what you give to the organization will be handed back to the community threefold. The We Care Center is an Angel Award recipient from the Secretary of State with a 93.4 percent client expense ratio. The center attributes maintaining low overhead cost and high outreach percentages for the past 33 years to the outpouring of broad community support and compassion. n
Friday, January 13th, Saturday, January 14th and Sunday, January 15th
Columbia Home Building and Remodeling Expo
Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St., Columbia
This comprehensive home show brings together homeowners and many of the most knowledgeable and experienced remodeling and building experts. Professionals will be on-site to share tips and bring your ideas to life or inspire you with new ones. See the latest innovations and design trends! Admission for adults $3, children under 18 are free. Visit homeshowcenter.com for a list of vendors and schedule.
Monday, January 19th
The History of BBQ Presentation
Lexington County Museum, 231 Fox St., Lexington, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. The Lexington County Museum is pleased to host historian and writer Robert F. Moss for a presentation that will look at the origins of pitcooked meats in the New World and trace the development of barbecue in South Carolina from the colonial era till today, with a special focus on Lexington County. For details and tickets ($20), visit eventbrite.com or contact the museum at 803-359-8369.
Monday, January 19th
The Palmetto Senior Show
South Carolina State Fairgrounds, Rosewood Dr., Columbia, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
This is Columbia’s ONLY 55+ senior event! Each year local residents, caregivers and their families look forward to networking and socializing with the most prominent and reliable companies of the industry. Discover new resources, products, entertainment and support services to make senior living easier. Admission is free, parking is $5. Visit The Palmetto Senior Show on social media for details, schedule and vendor listings.
Saturday, February 11th
Lexington’s Father Daughter Dance
Lexington High School, 2463 Augusta Hwy., Lexington, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
This Valentine themed event provides an opportunity for fathers and grandfathers to make precious memories with their special girl while supporting the Reading Center at the Lexington County Library. Enjoy wholesome music, beautiful flowers, and sweet treats! Sunday dress attire is required. For ticket information, visit Eventbrite.com.
Saturday, February 11th
Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center’s Annual Signature Event Doubletree by Hilton, 2100 Bush River Rd., Columbia, 7:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
Enjoy a night filled with dinner, dancing, full open bar, heavy hors d’oeuveres, live and silent auctions, and live entertainment while supporting victims of child abuse. For 27 years, Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center has been on the front lines in the fight for child abuse survivors to heal and thrive by launching a rapid response team of professionals dedicated to their overall well-being. Visit dickersoncac.org or contact Haley Shealy at HShealy@dickersoncac.org, 803-331-4954 for ticket and sponsorship details.
Events may be cancelled or postponed; confirm with event organizer. Submit your event info five weeks in advance to email@example.com. Events will be included as space permits.
The Benefits of Using a
Humidifier DURING WINTERby Marcy Roberts
It’s not rocket science: the probability of respiratory ailments and skin irritations increases as the relative humidity in the air drops below 40 percent. When temperatures drop, the air becomes colder and retains less moisture. During each inhale, air passes through tiny nose hairs; these hairs, as well as the moist mucus cells lining your nose and throat, act as barriers against dirt and harmful spores and bacteria. This natural protection generally weakens during the winter months, increasing the likelihood of influenza, allergies, and other virus-borne diseases. Heating systems also typically increase the dryness of the air within our homes and offices.
While humidifiers reduce dryness by adding moisture to the air, there is a delicate balance of humidity that must be maintained to provide optimal living and sleeping conditions--too much moisture contributes to sickness, mold, and mildew. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends indoor humidity levels stay between 30 and 50 percent. Most models today feature inbuilt humidistats to set the relative humidity to a comfortable level. If not, a hygrometer may be placed near a humidifier to check the moisture level at any given time. Here are some benefits you can expect from safely using a humidifier:
Increased protection from airborne illnesses and diseases
Moisture molecules weigh down and deposit allergens and other irritating particles on the ground or carpet. The air also becomes purified, filtered, or cleansed to some degree, decreasing the risk of allergies
or viruses. As you can see, adding moisture to the home environment can provide some amount of protection from becoming sick.
Quality sleep and deeper rest
Dust and allergens in dry air can contribute to respiratory infections by irritating the nose and throat. Snoring can worsen because of restriction of airways caused by nose and throat tissue inflammation. These conditions may be relieved by adding moisture to the air. Not only will you feel more energized from experiencing a deeper rest stage at night, but quality sleep has also been proven to boost immunity.
Improved home environment
Adding moisture to the home environment can help preserve wooden furniture and wallpaper, and some varieties of houseplants thrive better in moist conditions. You will naturally feel warmer, more relaxed, and comfortable in these surroundings.
Less winter-related ailments
A moist throat and nose results in less potential nosebleeds, reduced scratchy throats and more productive coughs. Moisture can also alleviate dry, scratchy skin, lips and eyes and encourage higher absorption of lotions and oils.
Factors to keep in mind when browsing for a humidifier
There are many types and sizes of humidifiers to fit various needs and budgets. Before investing in a humidifier, consider what benefits are desired, the size of the room or house, the inhabitants and any chronic conditions or disabilities (small children, elderly family members, pets., etc.). Take time to compare the cost, maintenance, cleaning requirements and any potential risks.
Some humidifiers have timers, night mode, mist level settings, automatic shut-off, and/or chambers to diffuse essential oils or medications. Pricier models have additional features, such as remote control, cool or warm mist options and UV technology to purify the water. Some humidifiers have filters to prevent any harmful minerals from releasing with the water vapor. To prevent bacteria growth, you must regularly follow the manufacturer’s instructions and replace the filters. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of your selection before making any purchase.
In warm mist humidifiers, a heating element boils the water and converts it to steam. The warm air is soothing and helps ward off germs and bacteria. In some models, medicated products may be added to
relieve colds. Warm mist humidifiers are also quieter to operate since they don’t have internal fans. Because of the danger of burns, it’s best to avoid using warm mist humidifiers if you have small children or pets. These humidifiers also use more energy than cool mist humidifiers.
Cool mist humidifiers are generally safe to use in the presence of kids and pets. Some models use a process of evaporation where a fan draws vapor off a wet wick or filter. There is less likelihood of mold or mildew growth because of excess moisture. However, these units can be quite noisy.
Ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers produce a fine vapor mist by vibrating a plate at high speed; they use smaller fans and are generally quieter than the evaporative models. They are also easy to clean and use less energy than warm mist humidifiers.
Keep in mind the possibility that you may need to humidify the entire home as a whole, rather than utilizing a smaller, portable option. If so, contact a trusted HVAC company and let them help you choose a central humidifier that will connect to the home’s forced-air HVAC system.
Taking care of your humidifier
Owning a humidifier comes with some risks and responsibilities. Minimize risks by using your humidifier as instructed by the manufacturer and monitor the water level daily. As with all appliances, taking proper care of your humidifier is necessary if you want trouble-free operation with no accidents.
Tap water is safe in some models, whereas others require distilled water. Change the water in the humidifier regularly, as stagnant water can promote the growth of various bacteria. Clean it if you notice mineral deposits at any time, such as white or black powder inside the vessel. Breathing vapor released from dirty tanks can cause serious health issues.
While humidifiers cannot cure coughs or illnesses, they could definitely make you and your family more comfortable during the winter months. As always, consult a physician regarding treatment for persistent coughs or other serious health issues. With so many humidifier options to choose from, it should be easy to find one to fill your needs and remain within your budget. Besides maintaining your humidifier, remember to regularly vacuum carpets and clean all areas of your home. Clean interiors naturally reduce dust mites and allergens in the air. By improving your home’s indoor air quality, your family can stay healthy and comfortable this winter. n
SavorySlow Cooker MEALS
CREAMY POTATO CHEESE SLOW COOKER SOUP
1/4 c. butter
1/2 white onion, chopped 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. water
2 large carrots, diced 4 stalks celery, diced
1 tbsp. dried, minced garlic salt and pepper to taste
1 c. milk
2 tbsp. chicken soup base 1 c. warm water
5 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 bay leaf
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese 6 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until translucent. Stir in flour until smooth, then gradually stir in 2 cups water, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper. Heat through, then stir in milk. Dissolve chicken base in 1 cup warm water and pour into vegetable mixture. Place potatoes in slow cooker, and pour heated vegetable mixture into potatoes. Place bay leaf in pot. Cover, and cook 5 hours on High, or 8 hours on Low. Remove bay leaf. Puree about 4 cups of the soup in a blender or food processor, and then stir pureed soup into contents of slow cooker. Stir in cheese and bacon until cheese is melted.
SLOW COOKER CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tbsp. butter
2-10.5 oz. cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 medium onion, finely diced 1-10 oz. package refrigerated biscuit dough
2 c. water, or as needed to cover Place chicken, condensed soup, onion, and butter in a slow cooker. Add enough water to cover. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 30 minutes before serving, tear biscuit dough into pieces. Place dough in the slow cooker. Cook until dough is no longer raw in the center.
SLOW COOKER BABY BACK RIBS
3 lb. baby back ribs, trimmed salt and ground black pepper, to taste 1/2 c. water
1/2 onion, sliced 1 clove garlic, minced 1-18 oz. bottle barbeque sauce
Season ribs with salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 cup water into the slow cooker, then add ribs. Scatter onion and garlic over top. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours. When the ribs are almost finished, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Transfer ribs from the slow cooker to a baking sheet; discard onion and garlic. Coat ribs with barbeque sauce. Bake ribs in the preheated oven until sauce caramelizes and sticks to meat, 10 to 15 minutes.
SLOW COOKER PORK AND SAUERKRAUT
1-1 lb. whole pork tenderloin 1-24 oz. bag baby potatoes, unpeeled (Optional)
1-20 oz. can sauerkraut, undrained 1 c. water, or more as needed 1/4 c. butter, cubed salt and ground black pepper to taste
Place whole pork tenderloin into a slow cooker. Arrange potatoes around pork; pour sauerkraut and juice over pork and potatoes. Add 1 cup wa ter, butter cubes, salt, and black pepper. Cook on Low until pork is tender, 8 to 10 hours. Add more water after 8 hours if mixture seems dry.
SLOW COOKER BAKED APPLES
4 large apples - peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. water
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Combine apples, raisins, brown sugar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a slow cooker; mix well. Cook on High until soft, about 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. Serve in bowls with cook ing liquid poured over the top; add ice cream, a pastry or cake. n
We’ve all heard of “true believers.” We all claim to truly believe in something.
How deeply do others really believe what they believe?
It’s even more important for each of us to decide what we truly believe.
The amount of “negative stuff” that has become “acceptable” in my lifetime is truly astounding. The amount of pressure to waffle on one’s core beliefs has also changed drastically.
A Vietnam Veteran friend recalled his unit picking up 3 guys suspected of cooperating with the enemy.
None would talk.
All had the same story even when questioned separately.
My friend’s Superior Officer needed the truth because American guys were getting killed. The group felt in their gut that these three suspects were lying about taking an active role in killing Americans.
So the Superior Officer got a helicopter pilot to take them up to a thousand feet and hover. He questioned the suspects again. None of the three would talk.
The Superior Officer grabbed one of the suspects and threw him out of the helicopter. The two remaining would not talk.
The Superior Officer grabbed the second one and threw him out.
My friend said: “Man, the third man began talking then. We got information that turned out to be valid and true. They were all true believers until we decided to try a different method of questioning.”
Now: I’m not in any way advocating such behavior, and my old civilian mind recoils at the horror of it.
But war is horrible, at least from what I’ve heard and read.
The things men must do in wartime are almost never nice.
My friend said: “It’s interesting to contemplate how many true believers of any stripe there really are in the world if their belief had an extreme cost.”
I realize full well this line of discussion is insensitive as can be, and no doubt the very idea of this horrific approach my friend’s was involved in back in ‘69 is shocking. I’m certain it hurts some people’s feelings to even consider it.
But it is generally worth considering viewpoints we may not hold. Are we capable of it?
My friend said: “Looking back, the decisions were simple. The first decision you must make is: Are you at War? Do the people you face intend to kill you? If a man decides he is at war, and he believes the people he faces intend to kill him if they can, then it changes how he views what is acceptable.
“It was not difficult to convince us that Satan himself was trying to kill us all. It did not take much for us to decide it was perfectly acceptable to try to kill Satan himself before he killed us.
“Yes, we were beasts back then for doing what we did, but I have never in all these years heard any better suggestions. We saved our men’s lives by doing terrible things. Would I do it again to save my fellow Americans? Yes, in a heartbeat.” n