People who are worth knowing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sometimes you have to say thank you to people you respect and admire. I'm doing that today. They're all local and you know them most likely.

The first person is my predecessor as editor of The Advocate. He is Gregg Fuller. I have to give thanks to Gregg because he gave me my first job when I finished my degree at Troy State (sorry, it will be always be Troy State to me). I have to tell you that when I walked in this office on Hickory Street that first day, Gregg intimidated me. He had been associated with the newspaper for as long as I could remember. When I was in high school, I saw him often running up and down the sidelines at football games. He was then what I considered the best in this business.

I don't know where I would be today if Gregg hadn't given me my first opportunity. I was about to head to Louisiana when I got the call to come to work here.

After spending a couple of years here as a reporter under Gregg, I moved on. In that time, he decided he didn't want to be in this business any longer and he left The Advocate. That could have been the end of the story. However, Gregg soon took a position with the City of Greenville's Parks & Recreation Department. In that move, I believe Gregg found his calling. I've never seen someone who seems so genuinely happy with their job. Who wouldn't love his job? He gets to work with children and help mold the character of our future.

The wonderful thing about having Gregg still in Greenville is that you can still occasionally find him running up and down the sidelines during football season. He is still taking great photos and he is always good for a story idea or two when he's asked. He remains a loyal citizen of Greenville and he works hard every day to make our town a better place. If we had more Gregg Fullers amongst us, what could we achieve?

Thanks Gregg, for that first chance.

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Another person that I want to bring to your attention is Mrs. Bonnie Parker. Miss Bonnie is a nurse at L.V.

Stabler Memorial Hospital. I became acquainted with her last November when I developed a staph infection and was hospitalized for several days. I don't recall ever being that sick in my life, and I can tell you that there were times when I wanted to give in to the pain I was in and just go away.

But then Miss Bonnie walked into the room. I don't recall ever in my life having a nurse who worked as hard as she did. All the nurses who took care of me were great. Top-notch actually, and I'll never be able to thank them for their care.

When the pain took over and I found myself barely able to get out of the bed, there was Miss Bonnie holding me up. She was there with medication to ease the pain and she was there to offer comfort when I lost control of my emotions, offering a soothing cold compress, or a kind word or two.

I hope if my health ever takes me back to that point again, that I'll find Miss Bonnie is the one walking through my door, with a big smile on her face and a sense of caring that you don't find often.

Thank you Miss Bonnie, for being one of the world's greatest nurses.

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I also want to talk about Barbara and Leon Hattaway. They are parents of one my dearest friends and I feel like I've known them for years. Of course, it has been over 20 years since I first met them, so I guess it has been years.

When Mother died, Mr. Leon told me that life would get better. He told me I would never forget her, but the pain would lessen. The heartfelt way he said it to me still resonates in my mind. Whenever I think about her, I recall his words and I know things will continue to get better.

Miss Barbara fed me my last home cooked meal before I moved to Atlanta. It had been several months since I had really had a home cooked meal, and everything was delicious. She has never seen me in town or out and about that she didn't make it a point to say hello and give me a hug. After Tim moved to the Virgin Islands, I tried to stay abreast of his doings through her. Our phone conversations are always comforting and insightful.

Because of their kindness, care and concern, I was able to go through some dark days. I look forward to many more years of knowing them, and loving them for who they are in life.

I wish everyone in my life lived like they do. I have never really thanked them and they probably never realized what an impact they've had on my life. So hopefully now, they know.

 Jay Thomas is group managing editor of Greenville Newspapers. He can be reached at 334-382-3111, ext. 136 or via email at jay.thomas@greenvilleadvocate. com.