What communities are made of
This week we present the story of a brave little girl and the community supporting her. Tori Scott has Neurofibromatosis 1, a genetic disease that causes tumors to grow on nerve cells in the body. She also has an avid group of friends that started out as strangers and are now Team Tori.
Team Tori is made up of members, young and old, who have rallied around this remarkable first-grader and her family.
It’s a story that reminds us of all the good things that communities are made of – things like friendships and random acts of kindness and neighbors who actually know and care about one another.
For 16 years, West Newsmagazine has had the privilege of sharing stories like Tori’s – stories that capture the heart and soul of West County communities.
Sure, we report the news of the week – disputes about tax revenue, debates over retail developments and much more – but in every issue you also can find stories that showcase the best of West County – athletes who are committed to helping their teams succeed, coaches and teachers who help kids achieve, volunteers who drive civic progress. The list goes on and on. And the list brings to mind an annual West Newsmagazine tradition – “The Best of West.”
Now is the time to tell us what you think is best about West County.
Online voting for “The Best of West” began on Dec. 10 and continues through Jan. 2. Categories range from “best local personality to look up to” to “best high school athlete” to “best local charity.” In all, we’ve provided 43 opportunities for you to nominate that which you deem “best.” Results will be published in our first issue of the new year (Jan. 9).
Since last January, the stack of West Newsmagazines has grown tall. Some stories have faded, others are imprinted on our memories.
Do you remember “Heroes among us” (West Newsmagazine, Aug. 29) – the story about Manchester Police Officer Gerad Gonzalez and Des Peres resident Joe Caruso, who rescued two area drivers from a fiery wreck? Caruso was passing by when he saw the accident. He could have just called 911 and drove on; instead he stopped to help.
One of the unforgettable passages from that story reads: “She (Caruso’s daughter) kept saying, ‘Don’t go, don’t go.’ I’m sure she was afraid something might have happened to me. But I just couldn’t stand there and do nothing, so I told her to call 911 and get some help.” While Caruso’s daughter dialed, he took action.
Caruso’s not alone in his willingness to step up and take action on behalf of someone in need.
Remember Scott Whitbeck (West Newsmagazine, Feb. 22) whose quick-thinking efforts saved the life of a co-worker? Or the Eureka High boys swimming team that rallied around teammate Dean Sindel in his fight against cancer (West Newsmagazine, Sept. 19)? Or the lifeguards who saved a 3-year-old boy at Chesterfield Family Aquatic Center (West Newsmagazine, Sept. 5)?
Community newspapers have the privilege of telling these stories as well as preserving local history.
How lucky we were to be able to share the story of Ellisville resident, Philip Hulse, who enlisted in the U.S. Army’s 8th Air Force at the age of 19 in 1942 and served as part of the 351st Bomb Group (West Newsmagazine, July 18). As a WWII veteran and local businessman, Mr. Hulse played a distinguished role in West County’s history.
But it’s not just adults doing great things.
Last week, we shared the story of Progress 64 West and its scholarship program sponsors American Direct Marketing Resources, LLC; Bick Group; DosterUllom, LLC; and Stinson, Morrison & Hecker LLP honoring three local students (West Newsmagazine, Dec. 5). These students are the future of our communities. Their vision and determination deserve recognition.
Unfortunately, sometimes in sharing that recognition we make a mistake. Regrettably, a correction is in order. Nikolas Ioakimides, whose award-winning idea, SocialAcademy, earned him a $2,500 Progress 64 West scholarship, was listed as a student of Parkway Central. He is, in fact, a student of Parkway South – another fine Parkway School and perhaps one you think deserves a Best of West designation.