as published in the Blytheville Courier News on Monday, April 11, 2016
By TOM HENRY
I have to admit that there was a day when I moved away from Blytheville and deliberately stopped on the side of the road and swept the dirt off my feet, praying to never return. I’m glad that God’s plans rule over my own. Had I not moved back I never would have discovered how truly wonderful Blytheville is and my life would have been very incomplete. Despite what has been written about Blytheville in the past…. Blytheville honestly does have some of the best people in the entire world living within its city limits!
As many of you know, my fiancé Carol Walls is battling breast cancer (and she is going to win), but at times the battle can be all too overwhelming. Fortunately, when the battle rages large, the love of God and Blytheville rises even larger! It is that love that I want to write about.
On Thursday, March 24, a spaghetti fundraiser was held for Carol at the Front Porch Café, located at 101 West Main St., which has once and for all renewed my faith in humanity. Just prior to the event, my dear Carol expressed to me some apprehension that the only people that would show up might be a handful of close friends and family. What actually occurred boggles the mind!
The café was wall-to-wall full of kind, generous, loving people (quite a few of which we didn’t even know) for the entire two hours. Many people dropped by days in advance of the event. Some bought tickets, some donated without accepting tickets and some merely had to give Carol loving hugs and words of encouragement. We are still receiving the afterglow of that love, which buttresses her in her time of need.
There is simply no way that I can list every person that I am grateful too for the love poured out upon my baby. I apologize in advance if I leave someone out. Know that if I accidentally do leave out a name, my gratitude is still abundant toward that person anyway. There are, however, a few people that I simply wouldn’t ever be able to look myself in the mirror if I didn’t mention. They include the generous, kind, community minded Phil Devers and his wonderful, talented staff at the Front Porch Café. Kudos to each of you for the love, support and hospitality shown. Carol and I will forever be the biggest fans of each of you and the café, not only because of your kindnesses, but also because of the quality and quantity of food that you provided. Oh yeah, a special thanks goes out to Bill Jerome for his tasty, secret recipe!
Another wonderful thing that Carol and I are extremely grateful for is how understanding and supportive our employers and co-workers have been. I especially point to Ben and George Hubbard and Amber Capaul at Hubbard and Hoke, as well as to Mark, Shannon, Bobby, Aaron and my other co-workers here at the paper!
I would be remiss if I did not applaud the loving-kindnesses of family members Lora Anderson and Lynn Sailors behind the scenes and Fulk’s Auto Sales in Gosnell for selling tickets.
Nothing tears at a man’s soul more than seeing a family member suffer, whether physically or emotionally…especially if both. Likewise, nothing touches a man’s heart more than when people show love and encouragement to that family member. You all will never know how buoyant the hundreds of acts of love, compassion, concern and kindness have been. I sincerely thank each of you for helping and blessing my Carol and I.
From my family to yours, I thank the one terrific man that organized the event and desires not to be mentioned, all of our friends (old and new), family, those mentioned above and the many terrific people from the greatest city in the world…Blytheville!