My oldest daughter Essa, who turns 22 on Friday, is a student at the Medical College of Georgia, dressing up in scrubs and a lab coat as she studies for a career in respiratory therapy.
On Thursday, I'll get to dress in scrubs of my own as I participate in MCG's CSRA in Scrubs program.
Last year, I spent a day at Augusta in Army Boots out at Fort Gordon. That was immeasurably cool - not just because I was able to shoot an M-16 at targets and at people (using blanks in the latter case, or so they told me), but because I was able to hang out with soldiers who are shining reminders of what and who keeps all of us safe and free.
Thursday, I'm looking forward to meeting more of the people who also guard our health. Unlike the hands-on shooting experience at Fort Gordon, and even though I'll be wearing the appropriate clothing, I don't think the folks at MCG will let me perform surgery on anyone. But I'm thrilled at the opportunity to stand next to people who do.
Oh: And happy birthday, Essa. Keep up the good grades!
Former county commissioner Tom Mercer is seeing lots of people in scrubs these days. Complications from diabetes and an infection have led to surgeries in which he has lost part of one foot.
Recovery is expected to take several weeks in the hospital, and I'm sure he'd appreciate prayers.
I was saddened to hear of the death of Pat Moore.
Mrs. Moore wasn't a native of Columbia County, but if you talked to her you'd never have known it. The Pumpkin Center resident was a charter member of the county's historical society, and comfortably authoritative enough on the county's history that she was asked to serve on the county's committee that determines the appropriateness of public monuments.
Mrs. Moore was just 68 years old before losing a year-long battle with cancer. I hate knowing that she and her family won't be able to enjoy more of her golden years. May God comfort them in their time of sorrow.
One person over whose departure I will shed no tears is Luke Williams, the former Evans resident who was executed by lethal injection Friday in Columbia, S.C.
Williams, who lived in the Bridlewood subdivision off Furys Ferry Road, murdered his 39-year-old wife Linda, a Bel Air Elementary parapro, and their 12-year-old adopted son, Shaun, a seventh-grader at Lakeside Middle School, in 1991. He was convicted two years later, and after years of legal stalling finally was executed Friday.
It was on June 19, 1991, that Williams beat his wife to death then strangled Shaun - an orphan adopted from El Salvador - and drove them in her minivan across the Savannah River, to a remote part of the Sumter National Forest in Edgefield County.
There, he propped up their bodies in the front seat, ran the van off the road to crash it into a tree, poured gasoline inside and set it on fire in an attempt to make their deaths look like an accident.
Police were suspicious, but Williams got away with it for a year until his attempt to cash in on $525,000 in life insurance policies caught up with him. That's when the cops tossed his coldhearted, remorseless carcass in jail.
Rob Pavey currently is The Chronicle's outdoor editor, but back then he was the Columbia County bureau chief. He covered the Williams case more than anyone, and several people rightly have noted that Williams' arrest came just four days after a one-year retrospective story written by Pavey was published.
Pavey has written a blog on the topic on The Chronicle's Web site that wraps up this sordid tale, at http://blogs.augusta.com/node/2251. It includes fascinating information pointing out that the Edgefield County jury convicted Williams despite jurisdictional issues that probably should have led to his acquittal.
In any event, good riddance to bad rubbish.
And may Linda and Shaun rest in peace.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail commets to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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