Two Everyday Heroes Renew Tattered Faith


Murder. Mayhem. Cranky citizens.

Rude representatives. Fanatical terrorists.

Corrupt bankers.

Easy enough to get all jangled and discouraged these days, watching the news of the wide world jitter by on the little box.

But it all depends on where you look.

Consider today’s front page story about the swarm of bees that killed two dogs in Round Valley. Please note the telling details of the story.

Hounded by bees, the two dogs ran to the back door and scratched until 17-year-old Skyler saw their danger.

What did she do? Call for help. Bolt the door?

Nope: She put on a coat for what protection it would afford and went out to save those dogs. She acted selflessly, bravely, out of love for another species.

Naturally enough, the bees went after her, so she took off running and hollering.

Next door, a visiting vet name of Clell Usher treating a horse heard Skyler’s cries.

What did he do? Call for help? Wring his hands? Find a safe spot? Nope. He ran to help. Seeing her beset by bees, he actually took off his shirt to swat at the bees and help the girl he didn’t know, running backward, bare-chested for a quarter mile.

They both ended up in the hospital, at least briefly — thereby paying a mercifully limited penalty for trying to help others without thought for their own safety.

Sadly, the dogs died despite Skyler’s sacrifice, but that only underscores the risk our two heroes took.

So if it’s any comfort, Clell and Skyler, you sure made us feel better.

Might even skip the news tonight — take a little walk through the rustle of leaves on the first day of fall.

We’ll chat with the neighbors, because now that we think of it — we could list a slew of folks living just down the street who would risk all for a stranger.

Folks are wonderful.

Dear Forest Service: We’re in your debt

We’re so happy the Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves forests had their whatnot together and as a result scored big on the federal stimulus jackpot.

Gulp. Swallow. Pause. Oh, Lord. We’re such hypocrites. Well. Not really. But sort of. Let us explain.

Actually, we’re all for quickly spending the $40 million in federal stimulus grants that those two Rim Country forests landed, which will improve campgrounds, build trails, protect creeks and clear firebreaks around terribly vulnerable communities.

Not only will those projects produce a decent number of jobs per dollar spent, but they might even all get under way before the recession officially ends and we have to start worrying about inflation.

So we would happily throw a party and dance the night away, except for one little thing. We do feel a little guilty about making our cute little grandkids pay for it all.

Jeeze — so tough to keep a clear conscience these days, with billions — maybe trillions — slapped on the national credit card. Well, gosh, we’re happy to keep the financial system from seizing up — but do we really have to contribute to the multi-million dollar bonuses of those greedball bankers?

And we’re sure happy to run up the debt to create jobs in this moment of crisis — but why do we get a sinking feeling the Washington clown squad ain’t gonna balance the budget when the recession ends?

OK. Maybe we’re over analyzing here.

So let’s just say congratulations to the alert and well-organized administrators at the Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves forests — and thank them all for working so hard to protect Rim communities from the threat of wildfire. We’re in your debt.


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