March 16, 2011 Edition

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Lives impact present,
future generations

John Bland
Publisher

We attended two separate funeral services Saturday afternoon for two friends - individuals with seemingly little in common other than their ties to Walnut Ridge and Lawrence County. Bob Guimon was a Baptist, married almost 60 years and a grandfather. Sloan "Muffin" Swindle was a Catholic and a single mother with two daughters, a 14 and nine year old. On reflection, however, it became clear that the two shared much in common.

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At the first service, Pastor Derek Collins shared the following story about Bob Guimon. A mother asked a Walnut Ridge couple to watch their infant son while she went to the store. The mother never returned, and the couple, Jacob "Jake" and Essie Lacey Guimon, adopted, named him (Bobby Surridge Guimon) and raised the child. As a grown man, Bob Guimon and his wife, Nedra, would adopt a son and name him Robert Kyle Guimon. The cycle continued as Kyle and his wife, Debbie, then adopted their son, Matthew.

Despite having a doctorate in nuclear/cosmo chemistry and a successful career, Kyle was led to become a minister and missionary. Kyle, Debbie and Matthew moved to Uganda, where they would establish an orphanage, church and school. Kyle is now deceased, but Debbie and Matthew are still involved in this ministry that influences many for the good.

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The second service was the burial for Dr. Carol Sloan "Muffin" Swindle, whose funeral had been that morning in Conway. Despite her education and career, Muffin found her true calling to be a mother. She first adopted daughter, Polly, and then daughter, Swan, both of whom were born in China. Through the years, she mentored other single mothers and couples, offering them support and encouragement in their efforts to adopt.

Muffin also started Leland's Hope, "Matching those who need pets with the pets who need them." The foundation's goal is to make a specific effort to match a pet to an owner with special needs, such as autism, Down syndrome, depression or anxiety, and who could greatly benefit from the company of a dog.

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Bob Guimon instilled attributes such as the importance of hard work and spiritual faith in his son and grandson, according to his pastor. By her example, Muffin instilled in her girls a love of life, learning and compassion toward all God's creatures.

They were two different individuals, but both left behind a legacy of adoption, positive examples and lives changed for the better. Their influences will live on, impacting present and future lives in extraordinary ways only God can see.

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