Marion?s protest response a highlight

was the single most impressive thing that happened in 2010, it would have to be the response the people of Marion gave to Westboro Baptist Church protesters Dec. 14.

Standing outside Marion High School, WBC protesters did their best to taunt people with signs, songs and bold attire, but no one was interested.

Many people were curious, but not one person approached the protesters. Instead, they allowed these visitors to speak their mind and move on.

In the true spirit of freedom, citizens in Marion did their part in stepping forward and strengthening our nation by defending the freedoms afforded to all of us.

No matter how different our views are from those of WBC members, or for that matter other groups, the right for them to voice their opinion was preserved in Marion that day, which is something we should all be proud of.

As the minutes ticked away New Year?s Eve, I smiled as I thought back to that cold morning in December at MHS, and more importantly, forward to the new year and how grateful I am to live in this community.

In 2011, my prayers will continue to be with U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Newell, who needs our support during this difficult time. I cannot imagine what he went through, or for that matter, any military members who have fought in a war.

Thank you, Ryan, for helping me remember what?s important in life, which is helping others.

Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in my own problems, I forget that one of the best ways to deal with that is by stepping out of myself to help others.

After all, where would we be without volunteers?

Whether someone chooses to help at one of our local libraries, mentor a child, or build a house, there are so many organizations that could really use our help.

One person who stands out in my mind for helping his community is Gene Winkler, who spent more than 350 hours of his time in 2010 renovating the city auditorium in Marion.

The city auditorium still seems to be one of those ?best kept secrets? that shouldn?t be.

The first time I walked into the room during the open house celebration in December, I was taken aback at how nice it looked. Having seen the auditorium before the renovation began, I was at a loss for words?which is a rare occurrence, as those who know me can attest.

Even though I don?t possess Gene?s talent for fixing things, I can still do my part by considering that location for a family reunion or some other gathering.

In the meantime, it might just be a ?thank you? card to the people involved in the Marion Advancement Campaign for making Marion a better place to live, or a small donation to help with the next phase of renovations.

Along with raising my own awareness of all the good things we have in Marion County, I need to spend more time with my family and friends.

I can?t count the number of times I have thought about writing to someone, only to put it off indefinitely. Even if it?s just a telephone call, an e-mail message or a card with a short greeting, I won?t put it off.

Another resolution I will work on in 2011 is regular exercise. As with spending more time with family and friends, I think I need to take it slow on this resolution, too.

Whenever I have attempted to put exercise in my new year plan, I went looney with the idea. Things like memberships to fitness clubs I didn?t use, buying exercise equipment that eventually became coat hangars or strenuous walks that ended with shin splints, sprained ankles and trips to physical therapy.

Instead, I think I?ll resolve to take it slow this year and enjoy a walk, building up to cardiovascular benefits.

There are so many other resolutions that would be good for me, such as going on a diet, saving money, getting out of debt, getting organized, et cetera, but those would overwhelm me.

Instead, I think I will focus on the few resolutions I mentioned and go from there.

I also need to be more diligent in my morning and evening prayers, because nothing happens in this world without faith, but faith without works is dead.

So as we begin 2011 with all its new adventures, here?s hoping everyone has a happy new year.

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