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Editorial 637

Missy Layfield - Editor

Tough Week

As we’ve watched Boston funerals, memorial runs and the excruciatingly slow revelation of possible motives and background of the alleged bombers this week, there have been not so faint echoes of 9-11 in the emotions evoked if not the actual events. As the media focuses on the why question, devoting most of each newscast to the inane questioning of the accused’s family members, (How do you think they feel?), the rest of us are left awash in vulnerability.

You recall what vulnerability felt like on 9-11 and the days, weeks and months afterward? When we all felt like we’d never feel safe again. Seems we did eventually move through that vulnerability and back to our sense of safety. We went back into tall buildings; we even got on planes again. We felt safe. And that was what shattered last week. We watched in horror as people just like us, going about their lives fell victim to some crazy plot to kill as many innocents as possible.

We are not alone in our lack of interest in the bomber’s childhood, background and religious beliefs. That just seems like we’re giving the bomber exactly what he wants-notoriety and attention. And it feeds the next crazy loner’s desire to become infamous by killing innocent people.We can’t control what the rest of the media does. In spite of whatever conspiracy theory might be floating out there, there is no mass media conspiracy or if there is, we haven’t been invited to the secret meetings.

No, for us, the story is not the bomber’s life, struggles, beliefs or motives. Don’t know. Don’t care.

For us, the story is how Americans responded. They helped. They cared about those that were injured. They stepped into the unknown to help because someone needed them.

I spent two decades providing medical care at athletic events much like the Boston Marathon.The people in those medical tents at the finish line were well prepared for dehydration, blisters, heat injuries and maybe a heart attack. Yet within seconds they became trauma triage teams, working with bystanders to save lives. How do we know that? Nobody who arrived at the hospital alive later died. With the horrific injuries bombs cause-that is nothing short of a miracle-a miracle wrought by training, compassion and quick thinking. These are the people we’d like to hear about.

Or how about the people who took runners into their homes. Imagine being in a strange city, no phone, no wallet, no nothing but your clothes and running shoes and suddenly having no place to go with panic all around you-Bostonians stepped up and helped thousands of runners. These are the people we’d like to hear about.

Maybe we should hear about those with blood running down their face that waved off help sending first responders to those more critically injured. Or how about the families and friends who will stand by the injured as they heal, as they learn to walk on prosthetic legs and cope with the grief of their loss. These people are also the heroes of the day. Let’s hear about them.

This week we were reminded that nothing is stronger than the American desire to help each other. When those Boston bombs went off, Americans did not run away, they ran to help. You can't bomb that out of us.

Passing of a Beach Legend

The Beach lost Roxie Smith last week. Her fingerprints are all over this community. A Beach resident since she was just 18 years old, she was involved in so many things, it’s impossible to list them all – you just know that something is missing. When did this woman sleep?

Roxie was a member of a generation that did not wait for someone else to solve a problem. She didn’t step back when volunteers were needed, She stepped up and did what she could, whether it was improving tourism in Lee County and the State of Florida or planning a local park, if Roxie was involved, things were going to happen.

Our minds boggle at the thought of how many meetings she must have sat through on the dozens of committees, sub-committees, task-forces and such that she worked on. That alone qualifies her for sainthood.

We here on the beach are the grateful beneficiaries of her hard work. Whether you’ve walked through Bowditch Point Park, or Matanzas Pass Preserve, or Lynn Hall Park or maybe played bocce at Newton Park. Maybe you love the Beach pool, or your son won a Chamber Foundation scholarship, or your little ones hunted for eggs or received a visit from Santa on the fire engine. Roxie had a hand in all of those wonderful beach places and traditions that we all enjoy so much.

We are very lucky to have had Roxie and her incredible heart here in our corner of paradise.

Town Council has honored Roxie with a Proclamation declaring Volunteer Appreciation Day, May 4, 2013 as Roxie Davis Smith Day.

The rest of us can honor her memory by volunteering. Step up! Be the first one to offer to help! Make our community a better place to live by investing part of yourself into the community like Roxie did.

We can’t replace her, but we can surely honor her by continuing her selfless work in our community.

Missy Layfield