Lighting the way in 2018

As 2017 draws to a close, most people’s thoughts turn reflective as they ponder the year that was — the progress made, the ups and downs, the things still left unaccomplished all roll through their heads.

We, at The Sampson Independent, are reflective as well, looking at our community and all the things which have impacted it through the past 12 months.

A story on today’s front page takes a look back at some of the biggest stories of the year. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, nor does it touch on things, we are certain, that others might consider big news in 2017. There are plenty of those to go-round for sure. Ours is more a mirror which gives us a quick view of some of the most important things that touched our lives during the course of these last 12 months.

Here on this page, our reflection turns, sadly, to the great losses we, as a community have experienced this past year. We are certain families across our great county feel their own devastating losses — some mentioned here on this page; others not, but all just as important to the hearts and minds of loved ones.

But, without question, Sampson has collectively experienced loss in community champions and political leaders, some whose names have become synonymous with our county, and all who have touched lives in some way as they have come and gone through our lives.

From long-time leaders like Charlie McCullen, Maxine Harris and Mae Troublefield to rising leaders like Superior Court Judge Doug Parsons to the devastating and tragic losses of young people like Andrew Warren, this community’s heart has been broken time and again.

We lost long-time educators and education champions like William Whitaker, Billy Ray Daughtry and Mike and Vickie Bass. And we’ve had to say goodbye to dear friends and community leaders like Jim McGuirt. And that really only scratches the surface of the names we could highlight, individuals who made a difference and who lived to do so day in and day out.

In 2017, we have felt the void grow wide as God called each of these remarkable individuals home.

But the story does not — cannot — end with the losses, though deep and painful. None of these individuals mentioned, nor the dozens of others thought about but not named, would want it that way.

Because the mark they made was because they lived, they loved and they cared about others.

While 2017 marked the end of their lives, it did not mark the end of their influence.

And today, as we begin to reflect on the year that 2017 and look toward 2018, we should focus on the mark each of these individuals made and the support they provided to their community.

Whatever we did to help our community in 2017, let us commit to do even more in 2018 — if not filling the shoes of those who have blazed the trail for us, at least assuming the roles they played.

Much is left to be done, and the coming year offers us the opportunity to allow some light our light shine as others have done. By doing so we not only allow their legacies to live on, but we continue what they started, ensuring that the efforts they made were not for naught.

Let the legacy of those we lost pave the way