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Raw Chatter

It was one of the most difficult assignments that I have covered in several months. It was a story that broke my heart.

Yes, I know, most people think we as reporters, have no heart and no compassion. But that simply isn't true. We do - all of us. Some people just don't show or share their feelings as much as I do. I see absolutely nothing wrong with those emotions. After all, I'm a person before I am a reporter.

The story involved a most courageous woman from Emanuel County - Leigh Webb - talking about the death of her 17-year-old son, Reid, during a town hall meeting to discuss underage drinking by teens at Thomson High School.

It wasn't just a story. It was gut-wrenching and sad at the same time. For Mrs. Webb, her husband and their two remaining children live this out everyday of their lives as real life. The couple no longer has their son and his older siblings no longer have a younger brother.

Mrs. Webb said the loss of her son is the most difficult thing she has ever endured in her life.

Personally, I can't imagine what she and family members go through everyday and will for the rest of their lives.

One of the saddest things about the tragic death of Reid, who attended Emanuel County Institute in Twin City was that it could have been prevented. That's right. It didn't have to happen.

It all boiled down to him making a choice in his life to do what he had vowed never to do - drink and drive, speed, talk on a cell phone while driving and not buckling up for safety.

His mother admitted as much while speaking to the small group of parents and teenagers who attended the local town hall session. I felt so sorry for her - especially when she talked about her son, noting that the slides she showed of her son - so full of life with several of his close friends - are now the only thing she has to remember her son.

Literally, it broke my heart. As I sat in a chair in the theatre of the school, my eyes began to fill with tears, as I continued to do my job and take notes as a reporter.

This job is not an easy one sometimes. We see and hear many sad stories - stories that are all too real to so many of the people - many of whom we never interview or see.

I have a lot of compassion and I applaud people like Leigh Webb. I think of them as unsung heroes. She has demonstrated that one person can truly make a difference in the lives of many hundreds of people. Again, I salute her courageous efforts in the memory of her son, Reid.

Web posted on Thursday, April 03, 2008

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