Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES Second half spells doom as Greyhounds fall to Hillcrest 42-12 in finale Senior Profile: Sarah McFarland WU’s Horton will continue golf career at SSU Lady Devils’ season ends in heartbreak with 3-2 loss in District championship battle Christine R. Ritchey Operation Christmas Child begins Nov. 14 Mental Health levy on tomorrow’s ballot Wanda L. Nixon David Rogers Robert “Bobby” Leonard Keneth Waters Commissioner Worley seeks re-election Republican challenger vies for Commissioner’s seat Charles Cooper Thelma J White Kayleigh L Crothers AEP Ohio employees support Breast Cancer Awareness Month WUHS holds annual Beta Club and Honor Society inductions When Saturday mornings belonged to the kids of the house Senior Profile: Gloria Purdin Green-White Night, OHSAA Meeting at WUHS on Nov. 9
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The living will lay it to his heart

This is the first of a three part series about Willard and his wife, Helen. Willard enrolled in hospice at age 76. He had suffered a catastrophic stroke several years earlier. People frequently ask, “How can you stand to work around death and dying all the time? Doesn’t it depress you?” But they don’t understand. It’s such a privilege when someone shares with you honestly from his or her heart and frequently we receive more from patients and families than we could ever give.

I’ve learned so much about living from those who are dying. I understand why King Solomon wrote, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to a house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2) Helen and Willard have given me much to “lay to my heart” and I thank God for them.

Willard and Helen had an unusual courtship. Willard wrote to Helen for several years before ever meeting her. He finally decided it was time to make the trip from New Boston, Ohio to Wild Cat, West Virginia,a trip which resulted in a 49- year marriage and six children, a pretty prosperous adventure.

Willard was a union carpenter and stated, “I loved to build things, houses, cabinets, furniture.” He kept building even after retiring. He built several steeples for churches. Helen proclaimed, “He did it for God.”

Willard enthusiastically and earnestly served God, but that did not preclude a good sense of humor. He told me about working in a small privately owned cabinet shop. The owner had a bad temper and would stomp through the shop kicking things. One day Willard and his coworkers filled a wooden crate with nuts and bolts and strategically placed it on the shop floor. Sure enough, his boss, true to form, lost his temper that day and came storming through the shop. I surmised the outcome by the big grin on Willard’s face. He was enjoying the prank all over again.

Willard took his Christian calling very seriously. Many would consider him a fanatic, but that was okay with Willard, because he served God, not men. Helen reminisced about living beside a scrap yard in Cincinnati for a short time. They were struggling financially and Willard (before becoming a Christian) stole some scrap metal at night and sold it back to the same scrap yard the following day. Willard testified that several years after becoming a Christian, God told him to make restitution. Willard believed that when God speaks you better obey. So he contacted the owner of the scrap yard and offered to return the money. But the owner declined, stating he had known what Willard was doing all along and that he had overlooked it because he knew he was struggling financially. What an inspiring example of truth encountering mercy.

But it was God’s grace and mercy that transformed Willard’s heart. One day, Willard pointed to his Bible lying on the table beside his bed, and invited me to look through it. I noticed it was filled with notes and highlighted passages. Willard was obviously a student of God’s Word. He shared some of his favorite passages and then the story of his spiritual conversion. As he talked, I realized how similar our stories were and that stubbornness was one of our shared traits (pointed out by Helen).

Then Willard stated, “I just couldn’t believe that He would love someone like me.” Tears filled his eyes and also mine, for those were my very own sentiments when I first encountered God’s unconditional love, mercy and grace some 34 years earlier. Words can’t describe the joy that filled both our hearts as we talked about God’s goodness and grace. With tears in his eyes, Willard reached up, placed his hand around the back of my neck and said, “I really like you. You’re alright.” Now do you see why sometimes, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to a house of feasting?” When was the last time you were profoundly moved and inspired at a dinner party?

Loren Hardin is a social worker with Southern Ohio Medical Center – Hospice and can be reached by email at hardinl@somc.org or by phone at 740-356-2525.

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Straight Paths

Loren Hardin

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