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Letters to the editor – Monday (12-14-09)

Tony Yon serves with integrity, always willing to lend a hand
Every year, my wife, Aleen, and I philanthropically sponsor free Potomac River cruises aboard the presidential yacht Sequoia in Washington, D.C., for our severely wounded Veterans who are patients at Walter Reed Army & Bethesda Naval Hospitals. Our vessel, the U.S.S. Sequoia, is recognized as a National Historic site.
On one of these special cruises last year, Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon Jr., director of the Army Staff, was gracious enough to sail with us in support of these severely wounded warriors of the Afghanistan and Iraq War theaters on behalf of the Department of Defense. Some of these warriors are missing limbs, eyes or had severe body/head trauma from combat operations.
Aboard the Sequoia, we found ourselves unexpectedly short handed for this event. Upon hearing of our dilemma, Tony and Sandy Yon immediately stepped up to the plate, volunteered and at their own expense and time, traveled to and from Washington to assist us in hosting these wounded warriors aboard the Presidential Yacht with General Huntoon and Pentagon staff.
While Tony was only there as a personal friend assisting us, his presence and his actions that day are something I will always remember and so will many of the wounded veterans who came in contact with him. Tony touched many veterans’ lives with words of encouragement and deeds; many of the wounded warriors personally told me so.
Tony Yon exemplifies the personal qualities of honor and dignity. Tony has my full support not because of his Republican Party affiliation but because he has impeccable integrity and serves as deputy with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.
In all of the time I’ve spent with Tony Yon, I’ve never heard him say an unkind word about anyone.
This is the Tony Yon I am proud and honored to know.
ó Timothy L. Besmer, Sr.
Rockwell
Besmer is vice president/presidential liaison officer for the Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group, LLC. More information can be found at: www.sequoiayacht.com.Don’t be pushed into decision
I commend our Rowan County commissioners for not being pushed into making a hasty selection for our sheriff. It appears the Republican Executive Committee and Tony Yon tried to put pressure on the commissioners to select Yon, saying that if they didn’t do so, it will hurt the party in future elections. County commissioners, take your time and appoint the sheriff who you feel best qualified.
ó Don Livengood
Salisbury
Panel doesn’t speak for me
I am very concerned that the executive committee of the Rowan County Republican Party has placed its support behind Tony Yon to be appointed as interim sheriff. I also find it very interesting that the committee (under the leadership of Tony Yon) had the nerve to threaten the county commissioners if they do not follow the committee’s recommendation.
As a registered Republican, I can assure you that the committee is not speaking for me. Kevin Auten should be appointed to complete George Wilhelm’s term, and then let the voters decide whom they want for sheriff of Rowan County. I feel confident Kevin Auten can do a good job because he knows his officers and has been a dedicated officer in his department for a number of years. Mr. Yon is not familiar with the officers or workings of the department. In addition, the county can save money by not having to go outside the county to hire Mr. Yon when Kevin is perfectly qualified to do the job.
I sincerely hope our county commissioners do the right thing for the county and the Sheriff’s Office. If you remember, Mr. Yon got only 5 percent of the vote in the last election. That tells me there are 95 percent of voters who did not agree with Mr. Yon’s views. In closing, no committee, Democrat or Republican, should have the authority to influence the voting or our county commissioners and citizens through retaliating political threats.
ó Donald Marsh
Salisbury
More on ‘Race to the Top’
Instead of discussing each point of the recent rough draft or grant memo for the “Race to the Top” grant due in our nation’s capitol by Jan. 14, the suggestion is we just keep the following in mind.
Each teacher works for Jill and Jack administrator. Period.
Before you sign off on something, governor, that has teacher signatures, please remember that very few teachers have wealthy spouses who can allow them the luxury of serving as a “check and balance” for educational grants, initiatives, or legislation by refusing to sign with their approval.
For example, do parents believe that the more than 40 percent of North Carolina middle schools that have class size limit “waivers,” granted year after year, receive these at the request of teachers and only after documenting a majority approval from a secret ballot vote from each school granted this option?
There is, however, no doubt that plenty of dedicated teacher signatures can be produced to prove teachers have and continue to request the option of larger classes than the state advertises.
I thank the editor with all my heart on behalf of the many thousands of children yet to enter N.C. public classrooms in NC for this opportunity to enlighten new parents and other citizens and improve the quality of the process.
ó Rex White
Salisbury
Great athletes of the past
Regarding the “Talk Back” comment that K.P. Parks is the greatest athlete in the history of Rowan County sports?
K.P. is a great running back, but does that make him the greatest athlete of all time? I don’t think so. He is only a one-sport star. I’ll never rate him above Robert Pulliam, who stood out in three sports and made the All-American team in football his senior year for Salisbury and went on to star in college and played pro for several years. And let’s not forget about Johnny Yarbrough, who was all-state in football and baseball and also played basketball. He was a leader on the Rowan Legion team that was one of the best ever and also played big time college football for Tennessee on the same team with Robert Pulliam. And how can you not remember Billy Ray Barnes, who was a standout in three sports in Landis and played college and pro ball for many years? How can a one-sport star ever be even considered better than these?
Now about the part where “drithe” wrote that Rowan County should be called West Rowan County … I can remember back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, when Salisbury basketball coached by Bobby Pharr was almost unbeatable. The school’s record was something like 110-5 over four years. But no idiot suggested calling Rowan County “Salisbury County.” And what about the Salisbury girls basketball team now being coached by Andrew Mitchell? They won the state title last year and are beating everyone by 30-40 points this year. No one is saying anything about calling Rowan County “Salisbury County.”
And what about the Salisbury track teams of the late ’60s and early ’70s and the great North Rowan track teams that for years were the best around? No one wanted to call Rowan County “Salisbury County” or “North Rowan County.”
I could go on, but I think I’ve gotten my point across.
ó Monty Anderson
Concord
My hat’s off to Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods’ departure from golf shows the danger of idolizing human gifts at the expense of one’s soul and sanity. Being admired by millions only makes people very lonely and isolated. This has destroyed many individuals and families.
Tiger Woods’ statement is the best that I have heard from him. That he, the idol of the sports world, after falling into disgrace, is now able to publicly ask for forgiveness makes him a teacher that will change the lives of many:
“After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father and person. I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I’ve done, but I want to do my best to try.”
Tiger teaches a lesson to us. The three most difficult words to say, and mean it, are “I am sorry.” The media, which bears such a responsibility for his downfall, should now be commending him for his honesty. There is a power in being able to admit one’s failures. Only by doing this will we be able to move forward and change society. God is part of Tiger’s life again. And finally, after all his successes, is he able to be a human being. This is what life is all about. This could and should be his best Christmas ever. I am happy for his family; they need their father. Now he is a true role model.
ó Johann Christoph Arnold
Rifton, N.Y.
Arnold is the author of “Why Forgive?”

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