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Letters 11/09/11

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The search for Robbie Wood


    On Tuesday Oct 26 as I was studying for the Air Force Association’s Cyberpatriot competition, I got a phone call. It was from an officer at my local Civil Air Patrol squadron, of which I am the Cadet Commander, calling to see if I could get a search team together for a missing person search. With the help of the other cadets with me, I activated the phone tree and was able to get a search team together in less than an hour.
    Early Wednesday morning, C.T Bell, Eric Fenning, both also from Bedford and several other cadets rolled out to join the search for Robert Wood.
    Robbie was an 8-year-old autistic boy who has been missing from his family since Sunday afternoon. He was last seen in Battlefield Park near King’s Dominion, above Richmond, Virginia. We arrived at the scene at about 11 o’clock Wednesday and were immediately conscripted to carry supplies from local area businesses to the search base for the volunteers. We then went through processing, and I was volunteer number 1404 which made me think how amazing it was that all these people would show up to search for a boy whom they had never met.
    At in-processing we learned more about the search and about Robbie himself. I was able  to speak to the mother of Robbie, and tell her that I was praying for her. Next,  we got our supplies and boarded the buses, heading out to the search grid. We arrived at out location where were assigned our numbers on the search line. We went forth (with many prayers and crossed fingers and loaded packs among us) to look for the boy. We trekked through dense brush and forests for three-quarters of a mile until we reached a clearing that had been forested and replanted.  At that juncture we were briefed by the  team leader that the next section  would be extremely tough terrain  and all that felt not up to the task were free to stay behind. So all the adventurous people set forth through a jungle of creeks, waist-high brambles, and fallen logs. Eventually we reached the end of out search pattern, did an about face, tramped back through the brambles, creeks and logs to rendezvous with the rest of our team and head out of the woods.
    Arriving back at the general search base, we offloaded and were greeted by the community who had provided an amazing dinner of pizza, donuts, drinks and various other home-cooked goodies. After dinner we headed over to the Civil Air Patrol mission base to form up for a night sortie. After searching several fields we completed our mission and headed back to base. Seeing it was 11 p.m. and we could not make it back to Bedford that night, the area Best Western offered us free rooms in which to spend the night. Then rested, we headed back the next morning. We were disappointed that we had not found Robbie, but optimistic for the search.
    On Friday I got word from mission base telling me that telling me that Robbie had been found alive by a quarry worker, airlifted to the VCU Medical Center and was safe with his family. All day my phone was buzzing constantly with people telling me the good news and congratulating us on a successful search. 
    The thing that amazed me the most was the fact that there were thousands of people from as far away as South Carolina coming to search for a boy they had never met and would probably never see, and that the local community came around to offer help with open doors and love. Although I was not the one to find Robert Wood, I consider myself was blessed to have been part of the search though Civil Air Patrol, which is the auxiliary of the United States Air Force and is open to all students ages 12-21 years, as well as adults. The love shown throughout the entire nation was amazing and makes me truly proud to be an American.

Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Hendry
Bedford

Rightful place

    Bedford used to be known as the “Christmas Capital of the World”. We still have the fabulous decorations at the Elks Home, but unfortunately for the last several years Bedford has had no decorations in downtown. Someone told me that Bedford had really pretty lighted wreaths on the street lamps, but admitted that you had to get out of your car, stand on the sidewalk and  look up to see them.
    It seems years ago someone in the city hung the wreaths wrong and in typical political fashion claimed they were hung wrong on purpose. The rationale being that if the wreaths faced traffic (where people could actually see them) a truck passing through town would hit them. Of course this is not true, because for at least two years the wreaths were hung correctly, and a truck never hit one of them.
    In my extensive travels (I went to Rocky Mount at Christmas time last year), I noticed that other towns had installed wreaths facing traffic. Many of the poles on which the wreaths were hung were actually closer to the street than the lamp posts in Bedford. And I did not see any wreaths floundering in the road.
    I hope this year we will be able to return Bedford to its rightful place at the top of the Christmas decoration world. Imagine this Christmas driving down Main Street or Bridge Street and being able to see the beautiful lights without having to constantly turn your head from side to side, which is not a very safe way to drive.

Frank West
Moneta

Thanks for
giving
 
    On October 30, 2011, a benefit bake sale and Brunswick stew was held by some of my family members and friends at Dairy Queen in Bedford to help with expenses during my battle with cancer.
     My family and I wish to thank those who played a part in the success of this event.  There really are no words which speak adequately to the gratitude we feel for the time and effort spent by those who arranged and set up for this event, the providers of the facility, the donors of the baked goods and ingredients for the stew, and the unspeakable number of people who attended the fundraiser. 
    We are so humbled by the overwhelming support of this community and mere words cannot express our appreciation for each gift.  Thank you for all the prayers, donations, cards, letters, flowers, kinds words and deeds and emotional support we have received; and a special thank you to the anonymous donor of the cashier’s check. 
    I know that God will bless each of you for your generosity and I ask that you continue to pray for my family and me as we continue the fight against this disease.  We are blessed to live in Bedford, “The World’s Best Little Town.” 
 
Dale, Benny and Michael Blankenship
Bedford