Unsung heroes

Dear Editor:I often enjoy letters written by some of your "regulars," which are informed, logical and humorous. However, recently I have been dismayed at the tone of some letters, and even editorials. They have sounded venomous, not fully-informed, and were presented as personal attacks on individuals or groups. Much has been made of the school district's Character Counts program. Character does certainly count -- whether good or bad. My husband was one of a group of pastors about 10 years ago who founded a "Values" campaign in Downey, promoting positive characteristics such as kindness, honesty, etc. These are good activities: the Bible tells us to think on good things. The media, in its many guises, often promotes very poor values, by glorifying sports stars, movie stars, politicians, etc., whose lives are anything but good role models for our children. This is unfortunate. But worse, in some ways, is for adults in our own city to model poor values, while giving lip service to good ones. We have all had our moments when we were less than we should have been. Hopefully we learned from those moments. When a teacher makes fun of a student having learning problems (I know personally of two Downey children who were treated this way); when a parent behaves badly and a child sees; when someone representing Downey in some public way (sports, etc.) behaves in an unacceptable manner, and that gets Downey on the evening news, as we have witnessed a few times in the past, that is extremely unfortunate. Actions speak louder than words. I see lots of buildings and streets in Downey named for well-known Downey citizens. But for me, the best citiznes in Downey have been the unsung heroes: people like Carol, the former Downey childrens' librarian, who treated each child as a unique individual, with different needs, talents and interests; then there was Kathy Tribe, one of my unsung heroes, so kind to me when I joined the DAR, and such a hard-working, committed Downey citizen. There is Walter Butler, not famous in Downey, yet a model for us all as he fought beyond a lifelong disability to get college degrees and help others working at Rancho and for the courts. There is Teri Lambros, a gentle lady, with years of caring actively for Downey. I could fill a book with these heroes who have lived in ways that truly counted, not famously or publicly, but consistently. I‚Äàsee many of these individuals at concerts, at the Memorial Day service, at church services, at clubs, volunteering at the Rose float, and just around town. I wish to thank them. "You do not know how important you are. I can't name anything for you, but you will live in my heart and the hearts of others, as persons who lived what they believed." - Glory Derryberry, Downey

********** Published: December 25, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 35