I’m not sure what to title this post, so I’m going to write it first and see what comes to mind.
I am very lucky to be surrounded by some amazing people in my life. I hold them in high regard and thank them for the advice and support they’ve given me that has gotten me where I am today.
It pains me to see people who mean a great deal to me face life’s detours, and some of them are in need of prayer as I write this.
My mother-in-law, Shirley Royalty, has been a pillar for my family. I don’t know how we would have survived the numerous challenges we’ve faced without the help of her and my father-in-law, Marshall Royalty.
This week, Shirley was hospitalized for a procedure that required some recovery time as an inpatient. I know it has been hard for her. I can’t remember her ever having to be in the hospital.
As I was trying to come to grips with this happening to her, I was thinking back about how much she’s helped me since Paige and I began dating in the early 1990s.
Even before we were married, she treated me like family. I was included in Christmas, Thanksgiving, always welcome at the dinner table — which meant a lot because she’s an amazing cook.
On one occasion at a meal just after I married Paige, I remember Shirley saying to me, “You don’t have to take that from her.” Wow.
But that’s the way she has always been, and I’m so thankful for the role she has played in my life.
At the same time, a big role model for me is also in the hospital dealing with a much more serious situation.
Kent Morton, a longtime journalist in Central Florida, is battling a rare disease. It apparently involves the body’s immune system attacking the muscular system. He’s developed pneumonia on top of that.
Kent has meant a great deal to me since high school. He was the Daytona Beach bureau chief for WESH-TV and gave me the opportunity to intern at the station before they even used interns. I was the first, and I’ve remained with the station in some capacity now for 26 years.
Kent taught me a lot about being fair to everyone, listening to both sides of the story before making judgments, being accurate, getting the facts and double-checking them.
More times than not during my early days in the Daytona Beach newsroom, you would turn around and see Kent with a phone to each ear and probably another somewhere on hold. His shirt would be half untucked, but it didn’t matter. He was on the trail of a good news story, and he was going to fight to make sure it made air.
I still miss him in the newsroom to this day, and I hope and pray his doctors can get him well again.
I’m well-versed in sickness and disease. I always believed growing up that being in TV news was the dream career, but as I’ve grown and been through so much with J.P., you realize the people who work in our hospitals are doing something so much more important as they save lives each day.
It can get you down at times, but then you see other younger people who take time out of their lives to do something special for someone in need.
Maggie Habeeb trained our canine companion, Karina, in North Carolina as part of her senior class project.
She posted some familiar images on Facebook of Karina as she was growing up. I can only imagine how much Maggie must miss having Karina around, but I’m so thankful for the sacrifice she made to get her ready for us to use with J.P.
In life’s difficult times, I think it’s important to remember there are people like Maggie out there taking time out to do something life-changing for others who they don’t even know.
There are also doctors and nurses who work tirelessly to help others who are suffering with sometimes mysterious illnesses they don’t understand.
Please pray that Kent and Shirley will be healed quickly, and thank God for the many people who make sacrifices every day to help those in need.
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