Letters to the Editor 6-18-15

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Selfless service

Editor’s Note: The following article was submitted by Janice Meadors of Patriot about her brother, Vernon Romans, formerly of Patriot. Vernon is married to the former Joyce Hatton of Florence. Both are Patriot High School graduates

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From the South West Lexington Ledger

Pelion, South Carolina

By Paul Kirby

Pelion, SC-If you ride through the small Lexington County town of Pelion most any day of the week, you’re apt to see retired plant manager Vernon Romans doing something to make the place look better. He’s the man with the little gold truck, picking up trash, painting something or generally doing jobs that most consider beneath them. He’s not an employee of the town, rather Romans is a man that serves for the feeling he gets when he does.

Romans is a man that is blessed in many ways. He’s been married to Joyce, a girl he met in high school, since 1957. The pair have two successful children and three, bright, popular and successful grandchildren.

He lives in a gorgeous home, that’s neat as a pin, which overlooks a serene pond with a dock, ducks and plenty of fish. The home is full of antiques, photos and other mementos from a successful life running a production plant for the Whirlpool Corporation,.

Romans worked hard in his professional life and has earned the right to enjoy his retirement. He could buy an RV and travel, fly or cruise off to some exotic destination, yet he chooses to spend much of his later years picking up trash and hauling it off to the dump without ever asking for a paycheck or recognition.

Much of Romans’ attitude regarding service to others, was formed during his childhood and World War II. He watched his uncles go off to war and noted the sacrifices America made as a whole to fight the evil in Europe and Asia. He was impressed by those who were willing to give the ultimate sacrifice in order to insure our freedoms.

Romans is a natural born leader who has held many positions at the front of the pack. In school, he was the Captain of the basketball team and was constantly involved in one project or another.

He attended Franklin College in Indiana and moved his family around, living in Kentucky and other places, working his way through management positions. Later, he landed in the Midlands where he and Joyce bought a home in West Columbia, and began raising their family.

In 1985, local Pelion legend and longtime public servant, Mrs. Elsie Rast Stuart, talked Romans into picking up his family and moving to Pelion. Stuart served in the South Carolina House of Representatives for 10 years, and has always been a champion of the Pelion area her whole life. She told Romans he and his family would be a great fit here and she was definitely right. The Romans’ moved here, built a beautiful home, and were quickly adopted by the area.

In Lexington County, Romans has worked on the Keep America Beautiful projects, served on Pelion’s Town Council for five years, and was on the Pelion Water Board. Later, after he had retired from Whirlpool, he resigned from the council and the water board and accepted the position as the Manager of Pelion’s Water System. In his director’s position, Romans was in charge of insuring that the residents and businesses of Pelion had pure, clean water coming out of their faucets.

This job required that he return to school at an age when most men could be found with a rod and reel or a golf club in their hands, but not Romans. He trekked back and forth to Sumter Tech until he received his certification from DHEC as a water system operator. Often, that job required he spend as much time with a shovel in his hands, as he did sitting at a desk administrating.

I asked Romans why he felt the need to serve his community in so many ways. Without hesitation, Romans said, “I’ve just always felt it was my duty to help my neighbors.” Romans went on to say that service was the responsibility of all citizens and he wants the next generation to know that pride in their home community is contagious. “I enjoy the sense of accomplishment I have when we’ve planted flowers, curt the grass and pick up the litter along the roads.”

A few years ago, Romans had a hand in organizing a roadside litter pick up near Pelion. He was joined by 70 of his neighbors to remove the debris that had accumulated along the streets. “Everyone got together and accomplished something that money can’t buy,” Romans said. “At the end of the day, the good will and friendships that were made are life long and priceless.”

Romans is a man of faith who attends a local church. He has also helped spearhead the local interfaith community’s efforts to gather and give away all types of toys, clothes, food and household items. This giveaway, held annually around Christmas at the IGA, brightens the season for hundreds of folks who are less fortunate than others.

The morning that I interviewed Romans, he was about to head out to the Pelion Police Department to repaint the lines of the spaces in the parking lot. A job that many young people wouldn’t do for any amount of money. “I noticed the lines looked bad and were almost invisible so I’m going to make them look nice again,” he said.

Although Romans is a man who has seen many years pass, his attitude and outlook on life is that of a younger man. He sees every day as another opportunity to do something fresh and exciting. He doesn’t spend hours looking back on how things were, rather he looks forward to making tomorrow better for us all.

If you see the man around Pelion with the little gold truck, stop. If only for a moment, stop and get out and pitch in. Working shoulder to shoulder with Vernon Romans will make you a better person simply because you shared the same space with him, if only for a moment.

Thankful

To the Editor:

My husband had taken me to our new urgent care here in Vevay on Thursday morning, but when a routine exam turned into much more, the knowledgeable staff discovered my heart was beating about 200 beats per minute.

They informed my husband of the serious situation and how the ambulance had been called to transport me to the hospital. The EMTs quickly arrived and put me in the ambulance. While one urgent care staff member and the EMTs were caring for me, the other staff member stayed with my husband and daughter-in-law.

But this is why it’s good to live in a small town.

Our daughter-in-law’s grandpa, Ron Morton, drove by and saw the ambulance and my family sitting near by it. He stopped to see what was happening and he offered to drive my husband to the hospital. He not only drove my husband, but he stayed for a while to make sure I was all right and stable. This is why small towns are great, but the people are greater.

I want to think Beth, Vickie, Alex, Chris, and Stephanie for helping with my emergency. You all went above what is described as your job and I appreciate you all.

But I would also like to thank Ron for helping my husband at this time of our crisis.

We know God sent all the right people at the right time in our hour of need. God bless you all.

Tammy Thayer,

Switzerland County