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Honoring those who participated

    Like numerous other D-Day Memorial Volunteers, I was on hand for the 65th Anniversary Commemoration on Saturday, June 6, 2009.  It was a great experience seeing the number of D-Day Veterans in attendance, especially Bob Slaughter and long time family friend Hubert Hobbs, from Roanoke.

    One thing I wanted to comment on was the numerous 82nd Airborne Division personnel in attendance.  These young men and women were here to honor those who participated in the invasion.  To see them in their dress green uniforms, with the ribbons on their chest, was quite an impressive sight.  They were all extremely polite and thankful when we expressed our appreciation for what they are doing for our country.  I learned that on their way back to Ft. Bragg on Sunday, they were going to stop at the VA Hospital in Salem to visit with the veterans hospitalized there.  Our country is in good hands with men and women of this caliber in our armed forces.

    God Bless all men and women serving in our armed forces and may God bless America.

Nelson E. Leftwich, Jr.

D-Day Volunteer


Liberty University Controversy

    As an American citizen, veteran, and now a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I too have the right and responsibility to express my opinion on the issue of Liberty University, the largest Christian University in the world, banning only the use of its name from being used by the Democratic Party student chapter.

    No one was banned from the campus nor was anyone banned from meeting or conducting business as usual.  The University only banned the use of its name.  Let’s say a group was formed by 30 employees of a large corporation and they formed a mission or vision statement that the corporation did not agree with or it went against that company’s vision or mission.  Would you then disagree with that company not permitting this particular formed group from using its Trade-Marked name?  Probably not.

    Being a minister of the gospel, I do not believe that being a Democrat automatically disqualifies one from being a Christian. However, after reading the newest Preamble of the Charter of the Democratic Party of The United States, it states that it is “Bound by the U.S. Constitution” and is also “Under God.”  Then why has the Democratic leaders openly stated that it would like to change or re-write the nations Constitution and has consistently appointed people like David Hamilton, former fundraiser for the controversial liberal group ACORN, nominated to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Hamilton was President Obama’s first judicial appointment, and Hamilton has been surprisingly hostile to religious freedom, life, and basic public safety.  In two of his most controversial cases, first striking Jesus’ name from public prayers in the Indiana legislature and later abolishing abortion waiting periods, his decisions were immediately overturned.  In the case of Indiana’s sectarian prayers, Hinrichs v. Bosma, Hamilton wrote that it was unconstitutional to pray in Jesus’ name but entirely acceptable to pray in Allah’s.  Why then would Democrats promote and appoint someone that is against praying in Jesus’ name?

    I am glad to see that many who were once blinded by all the lights, smoke, and mirrors of the campaign are starting to see through the false hope and what this so-called change is truly doing to our Christian Nation.  The only change we need is Real Change that occurs in the heart of man, not in politics or government.  This will only come from God’s people standing up, speaking up, showing up to promote and vote for candidates based on their character and loyalty to God and Country.  We need to get past party affiliations, just like denomination affiliations, which hold us back from the main issue of fulfilling our great commission. Whether Democrat or Republican, whoever stands up for the issues that we know concerns our Creator, which endowed us all with certain inalienable rights, that is the person that will get my vote.

    May we return to Bless God, through Jesus Christ, and then God Will Bless America.

Pastor Todd Childers

Norwood Baptist Church


Follow your own instructions

    You state in your instructions for a Letter to the Editor that letters are subject to editing.  I think you should take your own advice.

    The Bedford Bulletin is endearing to local readers, writing about a kid’s first buck, who grew the biggest pumpkin, new vehicles the Board of Supervisors is giving to Mike Browns’ Sheriff’s Department and the latest good Samaritan.  That’s fine.  When you do political columns however, the paper becomes more scrutinized.  I feel, if you are going to continue with your Conservative/Liberal columns, you must demand the best your writers can produce, if for nothing else, for the health and legitimism of the paper.

    Bedford is in the National spotlight.  The National D-Day Memorial has people from all over the world picking up and taking home the Bedford Bulletin.  Many small town rags would give their presses for that exposure.

    Mr. Barnhart of the Conservative side seems to attempt to be factual, writes rather politely and sometimes reminds me of Ben Stein when he played the Professor in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.  I get slackjawed.  However,  Mr. Howell on the Liberal Agenda seems to want to write in a mean spirited way, throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks, apparently thinking a reaction, even if negative, is good journalism.  I do not think that the Bulletin wants to become the National Enquirer.  Many of Mr. Howell’s rants are just lazy, with apparently no research;  he just writes what he thinks and hopes the readers agree with him.  A recent article, where he spewed some nastiness about Liberty University is a good example of his writing from the hip.  I quote Rick Howell in the June 3rd edition,” It may seem insulting to say so, but it’s true that a degree from Liberty is not worth much outside Lynchburg, Va., and the surrounding counties.  Any young person with a bright academic future should certainly go elsewhere.” That is such a foolish and unfounded statement, even though he says it is true, that it should never have made it past the Editorial staff.

    Do you pay this man or does he own the paper?  Is this what you want visitors from across the nation to think about a local University?  Do you not edit or say, “Whoa, Rick.  Rewrite this.  Phrase it differently.”  Plus, if Mr. Howell had bothered to research, he would have found that Shannon Bream, a 1993 Alumni of Liberty University may disagree with him.  She is the Supreme Court Reporter for the Fox News Channel Bureau in Washington, D.C., getting her Law Degree from Florida State University   Also, I think our esteemed, retired Judge of Bedford County, Judge William Sweeney, who taught law for several years at the newly formed Liberty Law School may have a difference of opinion.

    I have no affiliation with LU but I have enough sense to know when I’m reading BS.

    The Editor controls paid content but not the news.  If you are going to have political comment or opinion, it should be of a higher standard and you should have a sharper pen.  Qualifications should be more than just being a political hack.  The world is watching.  Do you want our visitors taking the paper home and reading it or just starting their campfires?


S.H. Parsons


Saying thank you

To students of Bedford Elementary School:

    I am writing this letter of appreciation to you for a gift that has filled my heart to overflowing. Your art displays, musical presentations and the wonderful play featuring my early life and career highlights were so well done. Hannah Overstreet, you definitely have a career in acting, (or teaching) ahead of you! All of you have been a blessing to me for my five years as your principal, but my retirement celebration was simply exceptional! How did you keep such a secret from me? I love you and wish you the very best in the years ahead.

To the staff of Bedford Elementary School:

    How can I begin to thank you for such an overwhelming event? Your version of “Sweet Sue” will forever be special to me along with my memory of you on the stage together with colleagues from Bedford Primary School. Tony Martin, I still cannot find the words to show my appreciation to you for your gifted writing and directing skills. The children of BES are indeed fortunate to have your leadership in drama and music. Mary Jo Krufka, Jennifer Harrison, Suzanne Ely, Mary Davis, Jill Tice and of course, Liza Winter, I will be forever grateful to you for the unbelievable amount of work that you put into the event. Our art teachers, Linda Keltz and Edna Nelson, you designed the most beautiful displays of student work! There are so many others that I would love to mention, but space won’t allow it, and you know who you are.

To special friends:

    Thanks for the memories! I will enjoy reflecting back on your taped interview of your times together – high school, college, teaching and in school leadership. Thirty-three years of special relationships and strong bonds of friendship and sisterhood will forever sustain me in my retirement years. I love you all!

To the PTA of Bedford Elementary School:

    Thank you for the beautiful gifts and your kind words of farewell. The refreshments and cake were beautiful as well as the lovely decorations in the cafeteria. I sincerely appreciate the support of our PTA and the consistent efforts that you have made to focus on improving BES for our kids and their safety.

To Mayor Tharp:

    I am honored with the memory of your presentation of the Proclamation and the Key to Bedford City. May 27th will forever be a day for me to remember! Your presence at my retirement celebration and your kind words are greatly appreciated by my family as well.


To Janet Poindexter:

    You have the voice of an angel! Thank you for the gift of such a beautiful song with the perfect message – “The Greatest Gift.” Please continue to use the gift that God has so richly blessed you with in your voice.

To family:

    Your support and patience with me for the last thirty-three years simply cannot go unrecognized. I realize that without each of you beside and behind me, I could never have accomplished all that God has put before me. Your surprise arrangement to have all of our family together still thrills me. I love you all very much!

Sue Saunders

Retiring Principal of Bedford Elementary School

Do your research


    I am writing to lodge a complaint against your recent article “Liberty University Shows Its True Colors” in the most recent Bedford Bulletin.

    I understand that this is an editorial, and that the point is for you to be inflammatory and to state the fanatical left wing side of things. As such, I was not surprised to read that you disagreed with the University’s decision to not fund (they did not ban, please do your research next time) the Democratic student organization. I agree with their decision, but that is not the point of my note. I take offense to your quotes of “Everything that’s ‘taught’ there- and, yes, the word definitely belongs in quotes-” and “. . . a degree from Liberty is not worth much outside Lynchburg, Va.”

    I graduated from Liberty University’s Athletic Training Program within the last five years with a GPA of over 3.75- which I’m sure you’ll say was easy due to the low academic standards of LU- however this program is accredited by the profession’s governing body (as are most of the programs at LU and the school itself), CAAHEP. To become a Certified Athletic Trainer, you must first complete a four year degree at a CAAHEP accredited school, then you must pass a rigorous three-part national exam and then apply to obtain your state licensure in order to practice. The first time failure rate of the NATABOC is significantly high, over 50 percent. LU’s ATEP graduates greatly beat those odds, most passing on the first try.

    After undergrad and certification, I continued my education by competing for and being selected for a one in 12 spot at one of the most competitive postgraduate programs in the country. This is not unusual for LU ATEP graduates. Currently, I have past classmates working on doctorates at Michigan State, interning with the NFL in Florida, and working at top Division-one universities in many states including Hawaii, South Carolina and Virginia. So, sir, even if you do not value a degree from Liberty University, it seems that others do.

    It’s fine to state your opinion, the Bulletin obviously values it since you are a weekly author, however please make sure to do your research and ground that opinion with truth. There’s no need to be mean.


Beth Isner


A success


    Dancing with the Staff 2009 was a complete success, so much that we have decided to make this an annual event as long as possible. 

    We could not have completed such as large task without the help of our community and support.  These people and businesses reached out to us in a drastically hard economic time and sacrificed their talents, and income to help our great cause.  During this event we raised over $3,500 toward the purchase of new playground equipment, although more funds are needed to complete the purchase, renovations will begin soon for a portion of the goal. To everyone that helped out physically, supported financially, and donated items and talents “thank you” so much.  God has blessed us through you.

    Unexplainable appreciation goes to: Judges, Katie Burns, Chelsea Johnston, Sharon Mackenzie, Rick Dellinger - Master of Ceremonies, Instructors -  Stephanie Cheek, Keeley Fenning, Laura Hurt, Rebecca Vickery, Nicole Servidio and Leeanne Schwartz.

    Special Thanks to the following for their support donations: Carrie Ann Inaba, Channel 7’s Natasha Ryan, Spirit FM, D. Reynolds, Modern Nails, Hair Then & Now, Food Lion, K&K Signs, Brooks Food Group, Mitchell’s Formalwear, Lee Hartman & Sons, Lakestyle, Magic Memories, Hair Designs, Sam’s Wholesale, Frederic’s Flowers, US Food Service, Annette Jenkins, Cisco Food Service, Cafeteria Staff, Liberty Station, 108 WYYD, BSTC Cosmotology Class, Shoprite, Pinehaven Press, El Torito, Mary Kay – Nicole Ashman, Bedford Bulletin, Roanoke Times, Smith Mountain Eagle, Fox 21/27 News and Channel 10 News.

    Please contact the school for further information or volunteers to help with the upcoming years event.  Dancing with the Staff 2010 expected to be bigger and better, but only with your help. 540-297-7391 or 540-874-4033.

Kelly Overstreet



Icon of local softball retires

    This week a true icon of local softball retired, as Donald “Hoyt” Dellis turned in his letter of resignation at Staunton River High School.  For over a quarter of a century, the Coach as held sway at third base for the Golden Eagles and has done so with dignity, honor, class and true professionalism.

    When Hoyt began coaching girls’ softball for the Eagles, the team was assigned a worn out section of the football practice field, and the bench area was literally just that, a place behind home plate with a rough, handmade wooden bench.  There were no dugouts, no fences, no equipment for the players, and the budget was so tight that just buying enough balls to play the games took all the money the team was allotted.  The bats the players used were some that had been donated by a local club, and even though they were used, they were appreciated because few players in those days could afford their own.  Through his hard work and dedication remarkable changes began to take place.  Hoyt help seed the field, dig the footer for the team’s first dugouts, helped form a booster club, and helped articulate the dream of a dedicated softball field.  Slowly fundraisers were held, parents became involved, and today the Golden Eagles play on a field that is second-to-none, with covered batting cages, a full range of facilities, and all types of practice equipment—and yes, plenty of softballs, although the Coach still treats each one of them as if it will be the last one he can buy.  What is even more remarkable about the Eagles’ home field is that all the money came from the local boosters, not from the county or school. While these wonderful advances were not achieved alone, no one has logged more hours nor sacrificed more free time towards the goal of having a classy facility than Hoyt Dellis.

    If he had achieved nothing more in his tenure than the development of the Golden Eagle softball facilities, he could be proud of what he has done; however, his legacy is much more than a first-class softball field.  When the Coach was asked to take over the program—a job that at the time no one else wanted—the Golden Eagles were playing a split season (part slow-pitch, part fast-pitch) and no one, outside of the parents of the players and a few die-hard fans, even knew the school had a team.  As a coach he has had to evolve as the game has evolved, and at the high school level, he has reached amazing maturity in both team strategies and player proficiencies.  Through all the technical changes in the sport, Hoyt adapted, learned and grew. 

    Perhaps the Coach’s greatest achievement, greater than being the first coach at Staunton River in any sport to win over a hundred games, the first coach at the River to take a team into regional play, and the only coach to spend more than two decades on the sidelines for the school, is that Hoyt never forgot that high school coaching is about teaching young people.  In his heart-of-hearts, the Coach understood that the lessons and benefits of high school sports go much deeper than simply teaching a skill or even putting a group of those skills together to form strategies to win a game.  More than most, Coach Dellis has known the real value of sports is not how many games you win, how many players make All-District teams, or even how many go on to play at the next level.  He has known that what is truly important is that each and every player understand the true meaning of TEAM and Team-work—a concept rarely taught and even more rarely understood in this day and age, that the team is more important than an individual.  He has known that by teaching a player to become dedicated to something greater than individual vanity and pride, not only does the team achieve, but the person finds him or herself becoming a better individual, a true teammate, someone with whom to “ride the river,” no matter what rapids or pitfalls that journey might hold. 

    Over the years, all of those who have witnessed the Coach in action, no matter if they agreed with his decisions or not, have seen a man who tried to conduct himself in such a manner as to reflect well on his school, his profession, and his own core belief system.  They have seen a man who never publicly berated one of his players, no matter how bad the mistake; who rarely yelled at an official; who refused to blame single mistake by a player, official, or assistant coach for the loss of a game, and yet would never forgive himself for a judgment call that he made that didn’t work out.  Observers witnessed a man of courage and character who never gave in to external pressures, nor changed something because it was the easy or even politically-correct thing to do, and yet was quick to change if he could be convinced that another way was the right way.  This is a man who would bench his best player in a game, even an important game with playoff implications, if that player violated a team rule, because he knew that the individual involved needed to understand the value of honor—she needed to grasp that her action of breaking the rule was more than a simple violation but was a breach of promise, a violation of trust, between that individual and every member of that team.  The player needed to know that there were consequences for her actions, consequences that were felt by her, her coaches, and the entire team.  And if that meant losing a game, the Coach was willing to take that risk in order to preserve the team’s honor. 

    Over the past 14 years, it has been my honor to stand alongside Coach Dellis as has he has taught more than 100 young ladies the game of softball, as well as some lessons about life.  I have witnessed him handle success and been there when he has experienced bitter disappointment. One of the truly admirable qualities of this man is that he has been able to handle both success and failure while maintaining a true grace and dignity.  Driven into my mind over these past fourteen years, through all the bus rides, all the clinics, the countless hours working Bingo, the rushed days getting the fields ready, the hours spent in study and conversation about how to improve, there are two things I know for certain:  to Coach Dellis, the most important part of sports is about the ultimate development of a person’s character; and the second absolute truth is that Staunton River High School athletics has lost a true example of what a real high school coach should be.  Donald Hoyt Dellis is a gentleman and a man who cares more about others than he does about himself.  He will be greatly missed. 

Thomas A. Karnes