Sometimes you have to see the worst to see the best.
That may have been the case last week, as Scott Countians rallied around the families at the center of a pair of tragedies.
On April 22, Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Brian Boshears died from complications of pneumonia. He was a 25-year veteran of THP and well-respected in the local community.
Hundreds turned out to pay their respects to Sgt. Boshears and his family at services later in the week, and no doubt the family has stories of acts of kindness that were extended by members of the community.
What struck me, though, were the more outward and visible expressions of support from the community. From messages of support — “In Loving Memory of Sgt. Brian Boshears” seemed to be the most common — on marquees outside businesses to the dozens of first responders with the Scott County Rescue Squad and fire departments who volunteered their time for hours on Thursday and again on Friday to help traffic control around Bethlehem Baptist Church and along the procession route to Carson Memorial Park. To the dozens more “church ladies” at various churches throughout the community who helped prepare food to make sure the mourners at the funeral services were well-fed.
Just two days after Sgt. Boshears’ untimely death, tragedy struck again when two-month-old Jesse Wayne Brewster — the son of David and Tara Brewster of Oneida — died unexpectedly.
Again, the community was shocked by the tragedy. And, again, the community rallied around a grieving family.
Little Jesse’s grandfather, Wayne King, is one of those Scott Countians who tirelessly volunteers his time in an effort to make this community a better place to live. King, president of the Scott County Chamber of Commerce, was in a meeting at the Chamber — discussing ways to improve the community — when he received the emergency call that his grandson was gravely ill. He would later say it better than I could ever hope to. These are his words:
“The people of Scott County and their families are most definitely a treasure in my book, one not to be wasted or tossed aside. To know that so many have been in their own heartache and sorrow yet take time to share the love in their hearts and try to ease the pain and loss of a young couple that has just lost a child is beyond any amount of silver or gold to me.
“This is what a community is and does, it looks out for its own and what a community we have here in little ol’ Scott County. It would appear to me that if the rest of the nation had what we have, things just might be a little different than what they are in our land today.
“I am not saying we have it all right and everyone else is wrong, just that we know and understand priorities of life a little more. People are the most important item here, not things or places. For this I am truly grateful to be living in the most beautiful place in the world in my eyes and heart.”
He would go on to add:
“People think there is nothing but bad in our world today and I know that there are a lot of bad people and things in life but what I have seen today and all this week is the good in people.”
Often, it seems, we hear about all the negatives that are associated with living in a small town, in a rural community. Sometimes it is the worst a community can endure that will bring out its true character. I can’t pretend to know what Sgt. Boshears’ wife and children are going through, or what Baby Jesse’s parents are going through. I’ve never lost a parent, spouse or child. But as an observer from afar, I can watch the community rally around its own and realize that we have something here worth keeping.
To that end, Wayne King once again said it better than I can:
“Man, what a wonderful place to live.”