Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

February 9, 2013

Cheers & Jeers - Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013

Working together to make a difference

Debera Smith and Mary Wilburn of Pals for Paws send this Cheer for the community:

“Pals for Paws would like to thank Howard County residents for their support this past year. The volunteers and ‘furkids’ appreciate the donated items and funds to help with expenses.

“Without your support we could not do what we do, as it truly takes a village to save the homeless. We thank those who have utilized our community grants to spay and neuter their ‘furkids,’ as this is the only way to improve the overpopulation problem in the future.

“Thank you for voting us ‘Best Do-Gooder.’

“Pals for Paws, a not-for-profit organization, has assisted Howard County for 13 years and has re-homed approximately 13,000 dogs. The organization is 100 percent volunteer, which enables it to direct all donations and adoption fees toward the care of animals.

“Pals for Paws receives a majority of its pets from the streets of Howard County, as well as owner releases. However, some are also rescued from ‘death row’ in high-kill shelters. These animals are socialized, house-trained and given proper medical care. But most importantly, they are spayed or neutered in an attempt to solve the overpopulation problem in the future. We are committed to solving the dog and cat overpopulation crisis in Kokomo and surrounding areas.

“Pals is accomplishing this goal through education and grants to assist with low-cost spaying and neutering procedures. The ‘big fix’ is working today to prevent tomorrow’s unwanted litters from being born.

“Pals for Paws received $70,000 in grants this year to spay and neuter family pets in the area. In 2012, we were able to fix 225 cats and 700 dogs in our community.

“Again, thank you very much for all your donations and support. Working together we can make a difference.”

Thoughtless could learn from veterans

Linda Bacon of Kokomo sends a Cheer and Jeer:

“I just wanted to thank the VFW of Kokomo for yet another successful and delicious fish fry last Saturday.

“For those of you who are not members, these VFW events are open to the public. The money they make from these fish fries go to the VFW men’s auxiliary.

“Great job. Support our veterans.”

JEER

“I would like to thank all those motorists who have been using our road now, due to the new bypass going in. Going out in the yard every day and picking up your trash has made life so much nicer.

“I am shocked over how many thoughtless people are still out there.”

About Tipton’s Bruce Gunn

Denny M. Altherr of Tipton sends this tribune to the late Bruce Gunn:

“Back in October 1983, I was a teen reporter for the Kokomo Tribune. The first article I did was on a very special individual, whom I’d known most of my life. His name was Bruce Gunn.

“At the time, he was 16-years-old. I wrote about the struggles he faced day to day, having to live with a terrible skin disease known as epidermoly bullose. The slightest touch from someone or something would cause bruises or the skin to tear. People with this particular type of skin disease have a greater risk of developing cancer. The type that Bruce had was severe. You really had to be careful if you were around him.

“And now, 29 years later, I am writing about him once again. This is my tribute to him. Bruce A. Gunn, 46, succumbed to this terrible disease on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. It is amazing how long he lived. When he was first born, his parents were told he would not live past the age of 5. But if you ever met this kind, gentle, loving soul, you could tell right away he had a lot of gumption. And it showed. There was nothing that would stop Bruce from doing what he wanted to do in life. Once he set his mind on doing something, he usually got it done … one way or another. He developed the attitude of ‘CAN DO!’ instead of ‘can not.’

“He was the only one in his family who suffered from this debilitating disease. His older brothers, Bryan and Bryce, as well as his twin sister, Betsey, were not afflicted in any way. His family loved him and cared for him, but as I said, Bruce had the attitude that he wanted to do things for himself.

“I recall when he wanted to learn to drive, his parents were hesitant at first, feeling that he could not handle a task such as this. But in the end, he proved everyone wrong — and he got his license and was driving. Of course, his vehicle had to be specially equipped for him to be able to steer and use the brake and accelerator. Once that was done, he was on the road, and he went everywhere! It was the beginning of his independence, which he wanted so badly. Habitat for Humanity of Tipton County constructed a house for Bruce, and he was actually living on his own and did quite well, from what I understand. He also gained employment, working at Janus Developmental Services in Noblesville as a computer data entry technician for nine years, retiring in 2007.

“Like I said, Bruce NEVER let his disease get in the way of him enjoying life to its fullest. He even attended a camp for people like he who suffered from some sort of skin disease. It is called Camp Discovery in Crosslake, Minn. He was even one of the camp counselors. I was told he really enjoyed attending there.

“But as with anyone with a severe disease, time takes its toll on a body, and that is what happened with Bruce. And I feel he knew the time was near. I went to see him not long before he passed away, and he looked very peaceful and had a look about him that I have never seen before. It was as if he knew his journey was coming to a close. And, two weeks later, it had.

“Bruce was an amazing human being, one whom I shall not soon forget. I only wish I had one-tenth of his willpower and strength to be as tough as he was. I will forever miss him, and I will remember him fondly. He was definitely one of a kind — a TRUE inspiration. Rest in peace, my dear friend.”

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