Letting go

    I’ve heard it said that we can never receive the full blessings that God has for us until we’re willing to let go of the lesser things we tend to hold so fast. The past month, since my announcement that I am leaving the newspaper business, has been a long lesson in letting go. Letting go of control. Letting go of position. Letting go of pride. At times, it has felt as if God was prying my fingers loose from these things, and I haven’t always handled the changes as well as I would have liked. Pride is … Continue reading Letting go

Love one another

  Originally published in the August 15, 2017, edition of the Suffolk News-Herald How can we possibly be in the place where our nation finds itself right now? How can a man have become so depraved as to have plowed his car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, killing one and injuring at least 19 others? How can our screens be filled with torch-lit faces twisted with rage and hatred? How can this be Virginia in 2017? How can the symbols of 20th-century evil incarnate have been adopted by Americans who descend from the Greatest Generation, those grandfathers and … Continue reading Love one another

Suffolk loses a legend: Andy Damiani dies at 95

    Originally appeared in the Aug. 6, 2017 edition of the Suffolk News-Herald By R.E. Spears III Editor Suffolk lost a legend, a cheerleader and a beloved storyteller on Saturday, as former Mayor Andy Damiani died at Sentara Obici Hospital. Damiani’s nephew, Jimmy Daman, confirmed Saturday evening that his uncle had succumbed after having been taken to the hospital with a medical problem. “Andy was 95 years old,” Daman said. “His health was deteriorating, and we were fortunate to get Andy to Obici Hospital. He passed fairly quickly. I was there with him the whole time, and he did … Continue reading Suffolk loses a legend: Andy Damiani dies at 95

‘She’s in good hands’

  Two years ago today, I wondered whether my wife would survive a massive gallbladder attack on an isolated island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. God has blessed me with two more years with this wonderful woman, and I gave her an extra-long hug this evening as I tried not to break down in tears at how overwhelming the simple memory is to this day. I wrote the following column a week or so after the medical crisis that resulted in her first helicopter ride and my own recognition of the fleeting nature of our lives. The folks … Continue reading ‘She’s in good hands’

Golden deliciousness

  Originally published July 13, 2017 in the Suffolk News-Herald In our continuing quest to make sure our readers have the most important information for their day-to-day lives, we at the Suffolk News-Herald feel we cannot let the opportunity pass to let you know that today marks a significant celebration of one of the linchpins of modern civilization. Today is National French Fry Day. All day long. That’s right, folks. Some enterprising person (probably a potato grower or a fast-food chain social networking manager) has finally recognized the important role that the lowly french fry has played in uniting people … Continue reading Golden deliciousness

A man I will never forget

  Originally published July 2, 2017 in the Suffolk News-Herald Thirty-one years ago, a scared, dumb kid barely out of college sat in an office in Franklin for his first job interview ever. He had no education and no experience pertinent to the job he sought, but his parents had made it clear he needed to find work — and soon. As it would turn out, this would be one of the shortest job interviews I would ever be a part of — on either side of the desk. I would eventually come to see the humor Hanes Byerly could … Continue reading A man I will never forget

Overwhelmed by hope

  Originally published March 26, 2016 in the Suffolk News-Herald Some days, it’s all just a bit overwhelming. Terrorism, insurrection and rebellion have spread across the globe. Innocent lives are lost every day, and families are left with the gaping holes of loved ones snatched from their midst. Divisive, bitter and disgusting political rhetoric either continues to widen the existing rift between people or simply shines a light that makes it impossible to ignore the division that already exists. One’s perspective on the matter is said to reveal his own prejudice. And while arguments ensue over who’s to blame for … Continue reading Overwhelmed by hope

Thank you for the Christmas lesson

  Originally published December 17, 2016 in the Suffolk News-Herald By R.E. Spears III Editor I’ve been having a lot of trouble focusing on my work lately. It’s a common problem for many during the holiday season, and many of the things that distract us all this time of year have done the same for me — Christmas shopping, holiday events, an ill-timed but needed vacation. But a young man who runs an orphanage in Haiti has been the main distraction for me this year. Last month, I made a quick trip to Montrouis, Haiti, on behalf of Supply and … Continue reading Thank you for the Christmas lesson

Roadblocks on the way to Haiti

  Originally published October 17, 2015 in the Suffolk News-Herald By R.E. Spears III Editor When I returned to Suffolk from a short-term mission trip to Haiti in August 2014, I was gratified by all the support I received from friends and acquaintances here for my trip and for the accounts I shared about it within the pages of this newspaper. At the same time, I was surprised at the number of folks who responded that they were tired of reading about Haiti, suspicious that my motives for sharing the stories were self aggrandizing and generally wishful that I’d leave … Continue reading Roadblocks on the way to Haiti

A new perception after a trip to Haiti

  Originally published August 30, 2014 in the Suffolk News-Herald By R.E. Spears III Editor One of the first things I noticed upon returning from Haiti on a recent mission trip was how quiet our ride home from the airport was. To be sure, we’d had a long trip (17 hours, from door to door, including seven passport checks and a dead truck battery) and folks were too tired for a lot of chitchat. The roads in America were also much quieter. In Haiti, driving is punctuated by the out-of-tune brass ensemble of cars, trucks, buses and scooters blaring their … Continue reading A new perception after a trip to Haiti