March 07, 2007 Edition

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Stories of triumph

John Bland
Publisher

Walnut Ridge's Bill Edmondson, who died Saturday, had his priorities right. Known to the greater public as Lawrence County Farm Bureau agent, those who knew him best talked of his congenial disposition and fun-loving nature. They would agree his priorities and most honored titles were those of being husband, father, grandfather, brother, son and friend.

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Lawrence County lost another respected community servant in the death last week of Edith Kell Stovall of Imboden, who edited and published the Imboden/Ozark Journal for several decades.

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We believe Kim McNabb of Jonesboro, married to my cousin, Mark, also has it right. In an interview, she stated, " Please, please, please ... do not worry about the dirty dishes. Go to the park with your kids." Kim, along with nine others, were honored Monday night in Jonesboro at the fourth annual Triumph of the Human Spirit celebration, sponsored by the NEA Clinic Charitable Foundation's HopeCircle and The Jonesboro Sun.

Kim, the mother of four young children, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2004, and in January, found out that the cancer has reoccurred for a third time. In the midst of her treatments and trips back and forth to Houston, Mark decided to set up a blog on the Internet. The blog has allowed Kim to give updates on her condition and progress and allowed friends and family to post messages to Kim. She and her blog have been quite popular as a ministry and inspiration to others as she shares her faith journey.

Kim concluded, "When all is said and done, all that matters is your relationship with God, with your family, with your friends. I am so glad I often left the dishes and took the time to go to the park."

(Footnote: Kim truly does exemplify "Triumph of the Human Spirit." Despite her condition, she and a group of friends completed Sunday's 26-mile Little Rock Marathon.)

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Another Triumph of the Human Spirit honoree was the late Dr. Bascom Raney of Jonesboro and who grew up in Walnut Ridge. Dr. Raney was remembered for his courage, humility and compassion when he chose to share his long struggle with alcoholism. As a respected member of the community, his openness about his addiction, something long thought of as shameful, gave others hope and the courage to seek help. He and others began Recovery, Inc. and built The Shed. Dr. Raney found that by helping others, you help yourself.

These individuals and their stories bring to mind that we have many of our own heroes and stories of triumph in Lawrence County.

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