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July 11, 2014
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Editorial: Roses & thorns


Taking a handstand

People are often told that to be successful in life, it’s essential to be flexible. Roseburg’s Hannah Truitt has that quality in body, mind and spirit.

The 18-year-old coach at Umpqua Valley Gymnastics has been putting her limber limbs through their paces for most of her life, starting with her first gymnastics lessons at the age of 4. She and her family gave up a lot as the young athlete grew stronger and more accomplished. For years, Truitt put in hours of practice while her friends moved on to social occasions without her. It all crashed to a halt when Truitt crashed, falling on her head during routine exercises in the summer before her sophomore year at Roseburg High. She dropped out of the sport when chronic pain prevented her from advancing her skills.

Determined to take care of her body, Truitt started a regimen of weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise. She earned scholarship money and performed community service as Miss Umpqua Valley. When she was ready, she returned to gymnastics — as a coach inspiring kids and as a student with a stronger-than-ever focus and dedication. She’s preparing to compete again in the fall and hopes to be accepted to the Oregon State University gymnastics team.

We’re betting that Truitt’s strength of character will vault her to the top of her ambitions, however high they are.


Keeping afloat

The first person who stayed afloat by inflating an animal bladder and carrying it into the water must have been really smart.

He or she found a creative way to keep from sinking underwater. He or she wasn’t about to drown.

It’s still wise to have a personal flotation device. And because of advancements in life vests, there’s no need to pump up animal bladders.

You can even borrow a life vest for a day or weekend from the Myrtle Creek Police Department and the South Umpqua Memorial Pool in Myrtle Creek. The life vests can be checked out at the pool at the corner of Rice Street and Orchard Drive.

We assume only a tiny percentage of the population will borrow one this summer. The offer, however, serves as a good reminder for a large number of people.

Just by making the life vests available and promoting it, the police and pool have contributed to public safety. The loan program highlights the fact that life vests save lives.

Rivers are strong attractions during hot summer days, like the ones this week. Whether it’s because of too much sun, too much drink or too much bravado, too many people get into trouble.

Life vests are a smart way to rise above those problems.


Destination met

A group of Dixonville churchgoers met a goal that’s helped them establish a healthy habit. Members of Pine Grove Community Church completed their 7,700-mile pilgrimage to Jerusalem on Sunday.

The members began walking together twice a month, wearing pedometers to track their steps so they could convert them to miles. Their pastor, Dennis Kreiss, kept track of their miles, as the crow flies, and boasted their success on the church’s reader board.

Organizer and parishioner Valerie Gordon wanted to show her fellow church members that walking could make a difference in their health and weight. That’s exactly what happened. And by doing it together, they got to know one another better and collectively work toward their goal.

While the destination was symbolic, they now need to return home, so Pastor Kreiss suggests they just keep walking.

Others have reached the same conclusion. More than half of the walkers who participated said they will continue walking. Two-thirds said they feel better about their health and plan to continue exercising.

They’ve been labeled “walking warriors” at their church. We’re going to call them successful and inspiring. May others follow their great example of fellowship, exercise and good health.

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The News-Review Updated Jul 11, 2014 10:08AM Published Jul 11, 2014 09:26AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.