Gaming opens many opportunities

To the editor:

It’s a sleepy election year in Danville. With no races for president, governor or United States senator, a lot of folks can pretty easily tune out and focus more on football than politics.

But there is one issue that I hope my fellow residents will tune into this November, and that’s the referendum about bringing pari-mutuel wagering to our city. This is not a new issue for Virginia. Since the state lottery was approved in the commonwealth via a statewide referendum in the late 1980s, numerous communities have voted to host parimutuel facilities, including Henry County in this region.

Today, brand new “Rosie’s” parimutuel wagering facilities, with the historical horse racing games approved by the General Assembly and governor, are open in Richmond, New Kent County and Vinton. Those communities are seeing hundreds of new jobs created and are gaining millions in new tax revenue. New Kent County is discussing using that revenue to help build a new school there. Danville should take advantage of this opportunity as well.

A parimutuel wagering facility would bring new spending and new revenue to our city, primarily from North Carolina tourists, while creating new local jobs that would primarily be filled by local residents. Other Virginia localities are winning with parimutuel wagering; Danville should join them.



Not the Danville I knew

To the editor:

I was in Danville visiting this past Saturday, and by coincidence, I passed by two separate shooting crime scenes. I noticed that the citizens whom I spoke to at the crime scenes acted as if the shootings were the new norm.

I find the community’s acceptance of the violence as norm disheartening because I was born and raised in Danville from 1966 to 1995. Danville was my home, and the areas now labeled red zones were places I called home. We took pride in ourselves and our community. Yes, we were poor economically but not in pride or spirit.

I don’t know all the answers to the community’s problems, but I do know this lack of empathy and the acceptance of violence as the norm are not what normal people do. I will not be returning to Danville anytime soon because the lack of empathy for others is disheartening to me.



A mentor and a friend

To the editor:

I am not sure you would allow me to use your venue to write this, but I would like Danville and the family members of the many people Joy Turner Smith, RN cared for in her capacity as nursing supervisor and director of nursing at Roman Eagle for the many, many years she was there to know some of the wonderful things about her, they may not.

In the Oct. 1 issue of the Register & Bee, I saw where Mrs. Smith had passed away and services had already been held. I just do not know where to start, after this feeling of sadness. I worked with this lovely lady for twenty years at Roman Eagle Memorial Home (now Roman Eagle Rehabilitation and Health Care Center). She taught me so much about nursing.

When I was working part-time, she would help me. She would say, “Come on in, Billie, and I’ll find something for you to do, but if you see Mrs. Jennings [the administrator] jump in a closet.”

She knew everything about every patient and employee in that building. She had her thumb on the pulse of the facility at all times. We worked hard and took excellent care of the 312 residents and had a really good time doing it.

Mrs. Smith expected you to report to work in your white uniform with your cap and provide the highest level of quality care to those in “her charge” that you could possibly provide. She would occasionally participate outside of her normal work hours for such fun things like our diet class with exercises. Meeting to go out to eat. And once several of us took a bus trip to Norfolk for a weekend where we went shopping, ate lunch on a beautiful ship and laughed until I thought I couldn’t laugh anymore.

When I transitioned from an LPN to an RN she was right there to assist me. Then I made a grievous error. I left for a brief time to go to Critical Care and was perfectly miserable. One evening I called Mrs. Smith, crying telling her what a terrible mistake I had made. She had the most comforting voice, when she told me to come in the next day, ready to work. This sweet woman made a position for me because she knew that I was miserable and I needed to work.

Unfortunately, nursing was not the only part in our lives where we bonded. We both love our families with all of our hearts. Mrs. Smith lost her son, Louis, and several years later I lost my son, Danny. She had invaluable advice for me as to how to try to live with the loss of my son, having been in that position herself.

When I left Roman Eagle it was not an easy choice to make. I was needed at home at the time to be with my family. And not a day has gone by that I have not missed my position there and was homesick to just talk to Mrs. Smith. I had heard these last months she had not been feeling well so I was not able to share my memories with her.

Mrs. Smith will live on in the hearts of those nurses she influenced over the years of her nursing career. I love Mrs. Smith as a coworker, a nursing supervisor, a director of nursing and a mentor. But most importantly, I love her as my friend.



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