Good News Americans #7

We’ll begin this edition with a remarkable story about commitment to work.  Ms. Melba Mebane, a 90-year-old woman, retired earlier this month from Dillard’s Department Store, in Tyler, Texas, after 73-years of continuous work at the store, and even more incredibly, without ever missing an assigned shift! Seventy-three years and never missed a day, apparently even during the Covid epidemic, which ended up nailing most of us.

At age 17, she began work as an “elevator girl,” with a later promotion to the cosmetics department where she happily remained. Said a former manager: “She set the tone for everything, every expectation, every customer service quality that we looked for in a luxury (shopping) experience.”  Along with never missing a day of work, she was always on time arriving!  The store opened at 10 AM.  To be sure she got her favored parking space each morning, she’d always be there by 9:i5 AM! “I loved everybody there, and I loved to go to work,” remembered this remarkable lady.  Health issues (at age 90!) caused her to need to slow down and retire from the store and the job she enjoyed so much.

What an unusual, though very positive and enlightening story of the olden days of work where, so often in past decades, men (mostly) would go to work for a company and remain there for decades.  The job-hopping of today wasn’t a consideration for most. Earnings stability for the family was the key motivation and responsibility, as the dad was usually the only ‘bread winner’ in those days of olde, while mom maintained the home and cared for the children. In our own family’s case while growing up, since we only had one car, my dad took the bus to and from work each day. Others often rode with someone. Not that unusual back then. Those were very different times from today, which have brought different work conditions, employee attitudes, mobility, and especially level of commitment, both from employees and employers. The story of this remarkable 90-year-old woman was one of amazing and refreshing commitment, devotion to responsibility, and the genuine enjoyment of her work.  A great example of the far more stationary work-world from days long gone by.  It was just a totally different era, from the standpoint of tradition, family, and the reassuring availability of steady jobs that would last through one’s employment life.

And good news is emerging on the issue of school-choice for our children.  Most recently, this breakthrough:  “Ohio is the eighth state to go all-in on school choice in just two years. The dam is breaking for the government-school monopoly,” said Corey DeAngelis with the American Federation for Children.  This legislation, signed into law by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, joins with several other states in just the last two-years (Arizona, West Virginia, Iowa, Utah, Arkansas, Florida and Oklahoma) in providing more key education options for our young students. These newly available school-choice scholarships are available to both K-8 grade students and for high school age students, as well, “to use for private schools or for homeschooling.” South Carolina, too, has reportedly recently also signed on to school voucher programs within that state. We can certainly expect other states to follow with legislatures willing and able to buck the strong teacher’s union(s) resistance.  Said AFC spokesperson, Corey DeAngelis: “Education freedom is flowing through red states and there’ nothing the teachers unions can do about it. I’d like to thank Randi Weingarten and her union allies for overplaying their hand and awakening a sleeping giant: parents !”

Now, on the subject of selfless heroic actions, in early July, a Candler County, Georgia Sheriff’s Deputy, responding to a report of a vehicle crash, noticed a car on fire within the nearby woods. Without hesitating, the deputy broke a window on the car and was able to pull the driver out of the burning vehicle, certainly saving his life. Another example of the all too often untold, or under-appreciated, stories of our law enforcement officers selflessly and heroically helping citizens, when they may well be the only help around.

Last month, the United States Coast Guard intercepted and seized over 14,000 pounds of cocaine with a reported street value close to $186-million. Off-loaded in Miami, the combined seizures took place in the Atlantic Ocean and within the Caribbean Sea.  The Coast Guard was assisted by other U.S. law enforcement agencies taking 12 smugglers into custody.  Another positive example of efforts toward keeping illegal drugs out of the hands of Americans.  Now, if only we had the political will, and common sense, to close off our southern border to help prevent the smuggling-in of fentanyl which has become, not a ‘recreational’ drug, but one that kills thousands of our citizens each year.

During a ten-week operation, the United States Marshals Service, assisted by state and local law enforcement, located 225 missing children in a sweep across several states. Among the negative findings, “forty-two of the 225 recovered children were found in cities other than where they went missing.” Apparently, many of the kids were “runaways (86%) or abducted by noncustodial persons.” Reportedly, the youngest child recovered was just six-months old! The Marshal’s Service indicated that the children involved “were considered some of the most challenging recovery cases, based on indications of high-risk factors such as victimization of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and medical or mental health conditions.”  Sadly, for the children, and our nation, this issue continues, and doesn’t appear to be lessening, despite law enforcement efforts to find and protect these vulnerable “missing” children.

And a very positive academic story. Louisiana high school senior, Dennis Maliq Barnes received 125 college acceptance letters and over $9-million in scholarships, said to be “more than any other college-bound senior in U.S. history.”  Said Barnes: “I give all the glory to God, because He played a huge role in everything that I’m doing and all of my success.  Days may be hard.  I may be tired. I may be having a bad week, but He always lifted me up to be able to move forward.”  Barnes has indicated his plan was to enroll in college for a degree in computer science. “And I also want to pursue a law degree,” he said.  Thanks to his dual enrollment courses while in high school, he will likely have enough credits to enter college as a sophomore! Perhaps not surprisingly, with a consistent 4.0 grade average, he was able to test out of two grades, making him a senior at the age of 16!  Along with all of his other accomplishments, Barnes is president of the National Honor Society, and he is fluent in Spanish!  What a great, positive story about a dedicated, outstanding American young man who will no doubt go on to make substantial contributions to our nation.  Congratulations to Dennis Barnes from New Orleans, a scholar on the move!

And another educational, but long delayed, happy ending.  At the age of 17, Kansas resident Wllbur Nachtigal left high school in Kansas to join the Marine Corps in order to fight for our country during World War II.  Now, seventy-eight years later, this USMC veteran has finally earned his high school degree and graduation. Seated, Nachtigal likely looked like any other of the graduates that day, that is until “he rolled his electric scooter across the stage of accept his diploma!” Remarked the 95-year-old graduate: “Over 400 of these diplomas were issued today.  I’m proud that I got one. Reluctant to do it, but I finally went ahead with it.” And he looked back fondly on his Marine Corps service, as well. “I think every Marine is proud of the Corps, and I just hope I set a good example for younger ones.” Congratulations to this fine veteran of World War II who made up his mind to pursue his degree and graduation at his same Halstead, Kansas high school, now some 78-years later!

We’ll conclude this edition with some positive news for our young people and, with it, for our nation.  Quoting the Reverend Billy Graham: “When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God.” In that regard, Carrie Sheffield writes: “In this time of rising depression and suicidal despair, it seems many in Generation Z reached that point, with a new study showing a rising share of young adults have religious faith. About 33% of 18-to-25-year-olds say they believe in the existence of God or a higher power. This is up from about 25% in 2001.”  No doubt related to the negative impact of the COVID era, this is positive news for both our young people and for our nation.  May this turn to religious faith continue among our young adults as well as for those in somewhat older ‘generations’.


(Fact Sources: Retirement after 73-years of work with the same company via, Taylor Knight, 7-6-23; Red states supporting school choice (vouchers) is increasing numbers, via, Kassy Dillon, 7-6-23; Candler County Sheriff’s Deputy saves the life of an accident victim via, news department, 7-2-23; Major cocaine seizure by the U.S. Coast Guard via, Stephen Sorace, 6-18-23; Federal authorities locate 225 missing children via, Sarah Rumpf-Whitten, 5-27-23;  Talented high school senior receives huge number of  college offers and scholarships via, Gretchen Eichenberg, 5-2-23; World War II Marine veteran graduates from H.S. almost eight decades after leaving to fight for America via, Elaine Mallon, 5-14-23; Generation Z is returning to God via, Carrie Sheffield, 4-26-23).