Fifty is significant for many reasons. It represents the states in our union, the atomic number for tin and, according to Paul Simon, the ways to leave your lover. It’s also the amount of merit badges jostling for space on Brett Brantley’s Boy Scout sash.
The Roseburg High sophomore needed only 21 merit badges to be eligible to start an Eagle Scout project. But if there’s a 12-step group for overachievers, Brett might do well to show up and introduce himself. Not only did he exceed the requirement by more than half, but he also invested several hundreds of hours in the project he chose — leading his troop in rebuilding benches and picnic tables and renovating a volleyball court and horseshoe pit on the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus. The sprucing-up effort will make for a more pleasant environment for patients receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and Alzheimer’s disease.
Brett said he chose the project as a way to give back to a system that has been supportive of his family’s veterans. We’re grateful for this go-to Scout for his energy and dedication, and that’s worth repeating. Times 50.
Sound of sonics
Yes, New Year’s Eve is a time for late-night celebrations and yes, sometimes that includes making loud noises. And no, the police don’t need to hear from every grumpy neighbor reporting a clamorous fanfare heralding Jan. 1. All that said, somebody clearly went overboard late Monday night in front of a church on Northeast Spruce Avenue and Northeast Alder Street in Myrtle Creek. According to one caller to emergency dispatchers, there was a boom as loud as a pipebomb in the vicinity of the sanctuary. It’s far after the fact, of course, but anything that causes an explosion is not merely distressing. It’s illegal. So let’s all enjoy our holidays, but let’s do it in a way that doesn’t threaten to make one of them anybody’s last special occasion.
Keeping his vows
Late-stage Alzheimer’s disease has mutilated Helen Fenner’s memory. The word “devotion” may no longer be in the vocabulary of the 91-year-old resident of Roseburg’s Callahan Court. But she gets daily doses of it, delivered in person or by phone by her husband, former KQEN radio announcer Lyle Fenner. Now 94, Lyle Fenner visits his wife each day at the care center and often makes late-night calls to staff to see how she’s resting during the wee hours. He said that seven years of dealing with his wife’s illness have shown that he has to show her that he’s there and that he loves her. So that’s what he does. It’s not clear how long he’ll be able to carry on, though. He’s been overtaken by a diagnosis of prostate cancer that’s spread to his bone marrow. He’s in pain and weakening, and isn’t expected to live beyond six months. But those who have met the Fenners and witnessed his tender care will remember their bond, probably long after each has gone. That’s not a bad legacy.