The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

February 13, 2014

LEVINE: City shows true colors with support

CLINTON — This has been a difficult week for the city of Clinton.

But in the face of adversity, the people of this area have shown their true colors.

A family is hurting in our town, and much like what has happened in the past, this area has rallied around the grieving and shown support that makes many of us Iowans proud to live in this state.

Sarah and Suzy Wolfe had their lives cut short last week. Since that incident, the Wolfe family has received tremendous support from local businesses and residents, and with the ever-growing social media capabilities, they have learned of memories they never knew about their family members.

I sat down with part of the family Tuesday and needless to say, I didn't know what to expect. I rarely get out from behind a desk all day, let alone enter the home of a family grieving over their family members' deaths.

(For full coverage of the sisters' deaths, click here.)



But my stress paled in comparison to what's going on in their lives. And in an odd way, it appeared they were trying to make me feel comfortable, wondering why this story had generated the attention it had received.

National media has grabbed hold of this story and I'm sure the frenzy will continue through today. It's difficult to tell why some stories become the talk of the nation and others do not, but the Wolfe family has handled the increased attention with poise, and once the attention leaves and focuses on the next story, they will be here preserving the memories of their family members.

Doing stories involving this type of incident is difficult for anyone. For the national reporters, this is just one of many similar stories they report on each week. As Jack Wolfe, the women's father, said Tuesday, this sort of crime happens far too often.

As a local journalist, I don't just move on. I'm part of this community and the Clinton Herald has been here since the mid-1800s. If a member of our community is hurting, we are too.

And that's been a shining light on this incident.

This community has shown time and time again that our support crosses all boundaries. That is the basis of tomorrow's front-page story and in the coming weeks and months, that support will be vital in the continued healing of the family.

So on this Valentine's Day, take a moment to think about one of the many memories shared by Wolfe family members with me Tuesday.

Kevin, one of Sarah and Suzy's siblings, mentioned how much of a pain campaigning for sister Rep. Mary Wolfe was each election. Walking in parades, attending fundraisers and volunteering wasn't exactly a fun time for some family members, especially considering most of those parades are in the summer.

Looking back, though, Kevin had a different take on assisting Mary. Those were times the whole family got together. With a family spread out across the nation, seeing each sibling didn't happen often. But when Mary campaigned, the family reminisced.

Without those campaigns, Kevin said it would have been too easy to decline an invitation to come back to Clinton, but those campaigns brought the family together.

Even though we may grouse about certain obligations or traveling for a long vacation, take a step back and realize how many memories are being made.

Because you never know how many memories are left to be created.



Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at scottlevine@clintonherald.com.

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