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Letters to the editor

Salisbury will deeply miss these pillars of community
I have countless good memories about growing up in Salisbury.
Martha Agner’s mother’s banana pudding notwithstanding, one of my favorite memories is of Foster Owen and his banjo.
Cruising on The Barge into a setting sun on High Rock, the kids gathered close to Foster like he was a warm flame. We were surrounded by our parents in a holy cocoon. How beautiful it must have looked to see the lantern-lit pontoon boat, to hear the tinny banjo and generations of voices singing, “The Girl that Married Dear Old Dad,” “On the Moonlight Bay” and “Nothing Could Be Finer.”
And over the years, Jean Owen has sat down with me at the dining room table to talk over my dreams. No matter my age, she listened and spoke to me as if I mattered, and she helped me network into like-minded folks who exhibit the best of Rowan County’s generosity. I enlisted her perspective and advice not two months ago.
And even though I moved away for nearly 20 years, I had the sense that the thoughts, deeds and being of Jean and Foster Owen made Salisbury a better place.
And so it is with great sorrow that I see them move to another community. I overheard a stunned woman in the tea room yesterday say, “But they are pillars of this town.”
What does one do when pillars are shaken? Once the shock waves subside, the only thing left to do is say, “thank you.” For teaching me ó through the way you live and relate ó about creativity, generosity of spirit, intellectualism and the welcoming nature of the world. Thank you, Jean and Foster, for being steadfast support in my life and in the lives of Salisbury’s people. In case you ever had a doubt: We love you. You will be missed.
ó Myra Tannehill
Salisbury
Let’s get teens jazzed up
On March 15, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Rowan Blues and Jazz Society’s workshop for area youth at the Hurley Park recreation building. My youngest son, a guitar and bass player, had the privilege to meet and play with other area youth guided by the skilled members of the RBJS. It was amazing to see these young people join together despite different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. You see, when playing music there are no barriers of age, color or ethnic backgrounds. Actually, the blending of these differences makes music what it is.
Afterward, I found out more about the Rowan Blues and Jazz Society. Normally, one would only find something of this nature in New York, Los Angeles or other major cities. To find the dedication, skill and willingness to offer the youth of Rowan and surrounding counties an alternative to the many harmful activities that abound needs to be acknowledged.
I started playing music in the late ’60s and early ’70s and the only place to play was nightclubs. Not the best environment for a teenager. I have volunteered to help the Rowan Blues and Jazz Society in any way I can. I am calling on others to do the same. Our youth are going to be running the country when we get old. Think about that and what you see and hear in the newspaper or nightly news. Surely you’d be willing to invest some of your time and money to help our children. Even area churches should consider investigating the RBJS. Contact number is 704-636-2811.
As an evangelist/teacher/musician, I say pray and ask what you can do. Do you know where your teenagers are on Friday and Saturday nights? Look into your heart and get involved in this very worthwhile cause.
ó Pastor Steven M. Gray
Woodleaf
Thanks for your concern
The family of Tim Hand would like to thank the firefighters, Invista, Rowan Rescue Squad, EMS personnel, hospital nurses and medical staff, hospice workers, Shriners, friends and neighbors, members of St. Matthews Lutheran Church and funeral home staff. Thank you for all the prayers, cards, food, for all your concerns and for the loving and beautiful service.
ó Frances Hand
Salisbury
Some of them gave all
After the deaths of our fallen brothers Justin Monroe and Victor Isler, there was an outpouring of love and compassion from all of our great county and those who surround us. There was an overwhelming feeling of togetherness. All the people who stood together for these two young men made the best show of appreciation and love I have ever seen.
There is one that really touches my heart. As a firefighter and a waitress at the Farmhouse Restaurant, I came to find one of my younger co-workers has been dedicating not half but all of her tips to the firemen fund we started at the restaurant. To me, this shows true love and compassion. I would just like to say to you, Amanda, you are a true hero in my eyes.
ó Wendy Yates
Salisbury
Humble gratitude
On March 7, 2008, I stood in the offices of Salisbury Central Fire Station with several members of the communities clergy. As I looked around the room I was humbled by the strength, compassion and love that I felt from these people. I was the least experienced of them all, but I learned so much from these ministers as we came together to respond in the hour of need. Words cannot express the deep gratitude I feel for all of you who arrived in quick time for our fallen firefighters and those worked and lived with them. You are truly God’s Rapid Intervention Team (RIT). God bless you all.
ó Rev. Mark Williams
Williams is chaplain for the Salisbury and Granite Quarry Fire Departments.
A visit with fire family
I wanted to say thank you to all Salisbury firefighters and also all Rowan County firefighters for the hospitality given to us as we helped try to return them to normal. I was once a proud Salisbury and Spencer firefighter and now am a proud Wilmington firefighter and was honored to be there at the memorial service for these two brave men who lost their lives. I thank you, Rowan County, for the hospitality you gave us; and to Salisbury FD and Spencer FD, thank you for taking me back into your family for the week. It was an honor to represent you and work beside you again. Thank you for everything!
ó Colin W. Simpson
Wilmington

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