Editorial: Week's end

May. 03, 2013 @ 07:39 PM

You’re reading this, so congratulations.

Many of us take the ability for granted. This week’s end, most of us can click open emails, browse news websites, follow Twitter streams and read books without much effort.

And we don’t always grasp how lucky we are.

Some of us can thank parents and siblings for teaching us to read. Others might thank school teachers.

But more than 90 million American adults qualify as functionally illiterate, according to the National Coalition for Literacy.

Here in Durham, we should be grateful for organizations like the Durham Literacy Center, whose 2,000 volunteer tutors in the past 25 years have educated more than 12,000 of our residents so that they can read these words and write out their own thoughts.

On Friday, The Herald-Sun’s Cliff Bellamy reported on the annual DLC breakfast – the first since the organization moved into its new permanent home at 1905 Chapel Hill Road. During the breakfast meeting, the DLC awarded its Leader in Literacy Award to the Durham Rotary Reading Rangers for tutoring students at Y.E. Smith Elementary School and Neal Middle School.

But those in attendance also heard inspiring stories from two of the center’s students – Tony Johnson and Julius Robinson.

“When you can read, you can stand up tall,” Johnson said.

When you can’t read, a life that’s already challenged can become so much more of a struggle.

How can you read a bedtime story to your child? How can you function in a job that requires comprehension and preparation of written documents? How can you read email, let alone study an election ballot?

So, yes, we’re grateful that the DLC provides the service to our residents and that volunteer tutors are so generous with their time and energy to share their knowledge to improve the lives of others.

And if you’re reading this thanks to a tutor, we recommend that you pay it forward and teach someone else.

It’s a gift worth sharing.

 

 

Luckily, David LaBarre had training to back him up.

A sergeant with the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, LaBarre recently found himself in an incident that took him beyond the normal call of duty.

This week’s Durham Grit Award recipient delivered a baby in a car outside Duke Medical Center.

On April 20, LaBarre provided a police escort for a couple who had been zooming up the Durham Freeway in a BMW with its emergency flashers blinking.

When they reached the hospital, The Herald-Sun’s Keith Upchurch reported, the deputy told the father to run into the emergency room and get help. But the baby didn’t want to wait.

LaBarre, who’s expecting his own baby this summer, had recently taken birthing classes – an education that proved both convenient and apt.

“The timing was just crazy,” he said. “I’m glad I was paying attention in class.”

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