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October 2018

Bill Sherrod, Editor


In reference to the August issue’s cover story, here’s some more info on thoroughbred racing-horse great Secretariat’s prowess.

As we approached the start of the 21st century, sports writers, nationally, decided it may be fun to choose the 100 greatest athletes of the 20th century. Our youngest son was in his late teens, an avid sports fan and participant before 2000.

We tried to “help” the professional sportscasters pick the list. As we got along and were running out of human candidates, I suggested that if an animal were included it would be Secretariat.

“Really, dad?” my son asked. Well, Secretariat won the Triple Crown (1973) and to this day holds the record times in all three races, although the Preakness time may be in question due to a timing error.

Sure enough, the only animal in the final-100 list was Secretariat, ranked in the mid-30s, I think, and close to Mickey Mantle.

— Frank Sardinia


Just a note on Richard Johnstone’s August Viewpoint column about his uncle and veterans, because, coincidentally, my mother’s cousin also served in North Africa, Italy and France in WWII. I wonder if they were in the same unit?

I started writing to my mother’s cousin several years ago when my mom was no longer capable of corresponding, due to her Alzheimer’s.

I had asked him where he had been stationed, and commented that I couldn’t even imagine what it must have been like to have lived through that horror. His response was that there were many days that he wished he could just lie down and die. But he would go talk to the chaplain, and the care and prayers would help him to continue on.

He also came home to a happy marriage and family life, and his faith continued to always be a prominent part of his life until he passed away in 2015 at age 93.

So, in remembrance of him and Richard’s uncle, and all the veterans, I say God bless you, and thank you for your service, past and present.

— Sandy Jackson


After reading Mr. Johnstone’s August Viewpoint about the veterans-support organization, I wanted to let readers know about the Vietnam War Foundation and Museum in Ruckersville. It is a non-profit organization run by volunteer Vietnam veterans. It was founded by Craig LaMountain as a tribute to his late brother, Vetal, who was killed during the Vietnam War.

We’re told that often, after veterans go through the museum, they are able to open up about their experiences in Vietnam and talk about things that they have not been able to discuss previously with their families. One former helicopter pilot came with his helmet in hand and sat in our Huey for quite a while. Afterwards he said that this was better than all the medicines that he was taking for his PTSD. As you can tell, we are a hands-on museum and allow people to sit in most of the vehicles and touch many of the displays.

We will be having an open house on Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We would be more than happy to have any of your readers come for a visit. For more information, you can go to the website, vietnamwarfoundation.org. or Facebook.

— Debbie LaMountain


Someone must impress upon the NFL players that they shouldn’t kneel while the National Anthem is being played before games.

The freedoms we enjoy, including the freedom to express ourselves by kneeling during the Anthem, have been hard earned over the years by our military. The NFL players might think it’s cool to kneel during the National Anthem. It’s not. They might as well be spitting in our veterans’ faces. I’m angry and hurt everytime this happens.

I hope that everyone will understand this point of view. I think there are a lot of people who feel the same way that I do.

— Katherine Gilliam


We are two retired teachers and each month we share Margo Oxendine’s column with friends in North Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado, Missouri and Georgia.

Margo’s column is the first thing we read, to get a lift and to relive her vivid memories, many of which are about times, places and things that we also experienced. Margo’s opinions are valid and right on target.

Margo, how can we ever thank you for your excellent A-plus-caliber writing? We eagerly anticipate your next installment!

— Barbara Dixon, Montpelier
Joyce Mitcheltree, Mineral


In the hustle and bustle of life, extending a hand to those in need sometimes gets lost. Except, it seems, in the cooperative community.

Southwind Farm owners Marshall and Kacey Jenkins in Culpeper opened their farm again this year to Special Love®’s Camp Fantastic campers, ages 7 to 17 years old, for a fun-filled “Farm Day.” The event is one of the most popular parts of the week for these very special campers who are battling cancer.

Many civic organizations throughout the Culpeper community provide the perfect combination of activities for the campers — fun games, a petting zoo, miniature golf, remote-control planes, rides in police cars, an inflatable slide, delicious food, dancing to music by an area deejay … the list goes on.

For more than 20 years, we have been most fortunate to have Rappahannock Electric Cooperative send a team of employees to Farm Day offering campers a special treat by lifting them high into the air in the co-op’s “cherry pickers.” Campers are absolutely thrilled by the experience!

Special Love, Inc.® provides a community of support to children with cancer and their families. But we couldn’t do it alone — it takes a community and we are so lucky to have a very caring, giving community.

On behalf of our campers, we send a special thank you — or “How How!” in camper-speak — to Rappahannock Electric Cooperative for its generous community service. What a wonderful way to give back, and to make a child with cancer feel on top of the world.

— Jan Bresch
Executive Director
Special Love, Inc.®


In the September issue’s Say Cheese column, the subject of the photo “Hoo You Lookin’ At?” was incorrectly identified as a barn owl.

The wise and watchful bird pictured was actually a barred owl, a fact noted by many of our sharp eyed readers.

To our avian-wise readers who caught the owl-identity discrepancy, thanks for setting the record straight and we apologize for the mistake.