By Frank Chapman
In this day of individualism, self-centeredness and often dark living in our world, I experienced the best of The Valley last year during one of the worst times of my life. Criticism often travels faster than the speed of light, but compliments and thank yous usually meander through the dark gravel back roads. I regret my tardiness. All of us traveled into the darkness of last winter, some of us lived to see the light of spring while others walked toward a different light.
I have no idea why the good sometimes go first and others remain, but I am here today because of the dedicated efforts of many people here in The Valley and beyond. There was my wife who found a way to be at my side and be my advocate though she was ill and losing her vision; a son who made many long snowy and icy trips from Boston to Burlington on a far too frequent basis to calm his mother and motivate and advise his father; a daughter (in-law) who for love of my son provided him with all he needed to coach his father to live and then prepare and provide four months of healthy food to help me recover; a well-trained and wonderful vet who is an even better human being; a sister and neighbor who cleared her own busy schedule and made daily trips to Burlington for a month allowing my wife to be at my side; a friend and former pilot, telephone pole rider, and state employee who never took a coffee break while working for the state and who while ill himself provided transportation for my wife and me to the hospital and doctors; a young mother and landscaper who already with a table full of her own responsibilities still made time to provide not only transportation but comfort and care and food to patient and family; a home physical therapist who would not allow failure or discouragement but did so with a most wonderful personality; a local contractor who while known to be very precise in his work was even more so in opening his heart and his time and his energy to making everything work within my home and hospital room even to the point of "breaking into" the ICU to make sure his friend was being well cared for; local campground owners who provided so much help and assistance breaking camp, keeping in touch and more; owners of a Rutland car repair shop who not only kept my son busy during a very long day but also provided much welcomed support to my wife during the entire winter; a teacher who once she discovered the condition my condition was in spent more time at the hospital than many doctors did; the staff of UVM who provided me the ability to live; the entire staff of the Woodridge Rehabilitation Nursing Home who provided me the will, desire and means to live.
Angels do live among us; we simply need to open not only our eyes but our hearts. Old age and recovery have affected my memory. If I have left out any one please forgive me. Many thanks to you all.
Frank Chapman lives in Waitsfield