The Clinton Herald
---- — Recently, the struggles in the River Bend/Fulton High School District have come to my attention.
Due to the fiscal status of the state of Illinois, the school district has been forced to make very difficult budget decisions. However, I became especially concerned when I learned of the dismissal of Jeff Hoese from his positions as Boys’ Sophomore Basketball Coach and Student Council Advisor. I no longer have a child in the school district but due to the efforts of Jeff Hoese both myself and my son, Jared Balk, have many fond memories of just what it means to be a Fulton Steamer.
My son, Jared, was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma while in his sophomore year at Fulton High School. While a freshman, Jared participated on the freshman basketball team under the direction of Mr. Hoese. My son has often remarked, “Mr. Hoese was one of the best coaches I could have had.” During Jared’s sophomore year however his health began to decline and he was unable to participate in extra-curriculars.
Realizing the stress our family was under, Mr. Hoese through the student council organized a dodgeball tournament benefit to assist in defraying the medical and out-of-pocket expenses not covered under our health insurance program. Our family was so touched by such a fiscally generous and emotionally meaningful action.
Unfortunately, my son encountered another health crisis during the fall of his senior year. The lymphoma had returned and we were devastated. We knew the impact the illness as well as the treatment would have on Jared’s ability to fully participate in the experience of his senior year. We did not know nor could we have ever anticipated the intensity and dedication of Mr. Jeff Hoese to any member of the student body at Fulton High School.
During Homecoming Week, Jared was hospitalized at the University of Iowa Hospitals for his treatment regimen. To say he was devastated to miss out on his last Homecoming would be an understatement. However, behind the scenes, Mr. Jeff Hoese organized the crowning of Jared as Homecoming King. He didn’t stop there for that isn’t in his character. Jeff Hoese brought Homecoming to my son — as also reported by the Clinton Herald at that time. He organized my parents, my sister, and the Homecoming Queen’s presence in Iowa City. A royal first dance was taped and played at the Homecoming festivities at the school. Mr. Hoese also utilized the powers of our social media forums (specifically Skype) to ensure Jared was indeed able to participate in his senior Homecoming Dance. Jared was able to watch and participate in the dance from his hospital room in Iowa City all due to the ingenuity and compassion of Mr. Jeff Hoese.
Jared’s cell phone number was shared with individuals during the Pep Rally so that members of the student body could reach out and connect with Jared via text messaging – so he didn’t feel so alone. So many messages were received, the cell phone was exhausted and collapsed. Happy memory – all due to the efforts and thoughtfulness of one man concerned for a member of the FHS student body in need.
At the time of these actions, my son wasn’t a basketball player. He wasn’t a member of the Student Council at FHS. My son was a Fulton Steamer and that was all that mattered to Mr. Jeff Hoese. The school district’s web-site proclaims “The school where everyone is someone.”
Mr. Hoese epitomized that mission statement. Therefore, hearing the news of his dismissal from these important leadership roles alarms and gravely concerns me. Given all of his dedication and endless efforts to improve the lives of the students at FHS, what could ever justify removing him from these roles?
A famous quote reads: “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do nothing for him.” The impact of Mr. Jeff Hoese on the life of my son was immeasurable. Speaking out in support of him, his professionalism and his dedication to the Steamer Nation is the least that a very grateful mother’s heart could do.
Oral Cancer awareness
April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Several organizations, including the American Dental Association, have joined forces with the Oral Cancer Foundation to promote awareness and early prevention of this disease.
Approximately 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year and only about half of those diagnosed will be alive in five years. The death rate with this cancer is espeically high because it’s typically not found until it is in its later stages.
Oral cancer generally effects adults over the age of 40 and risk factors including smoking, the use of smokeless tabacco and heavy alcohol consumption. There is now a younger population with this type of cancer and it is being linked to the human papilloma virus 16. This is the same virus that is the cause of many cervical cancers.
Oral cancer can be hard to detect because in early stages it can appear as a small sore in hard-to-view areas of the mouth. Symptoms can include a red or white spot in the mouth that doesn’t heal, a lump or swelling in the mouth or cheek, difficulty swallowing or chewing, and pain or tenderness in the mouth or lips. The most common sites for oral cancer include the floor of the mouth and the tongue — both relatively difficult areas to see.
Routine oral cancer screenings from your dentist are the best way to detect oral cancer. These screenings should be an integral part of preventive care and could save your life. For more information on oral cancer, contact your dentist or go online to oralcancerfoundation.org for details.
Dr. Ann McIntyre is a Clinton dentist practicing at Dr. Dosland and Dr. Miller’s office.