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Viewpoint: You've been hired as our new columnist

I'm starting to think that my wife should be the editor of this paper, based on the number of comments I received about her column last week.

For the record, we have learned that the name of the gentleman she wrote about was Charles Johnson, the former principal at Hastings High School. His wife, Gladys, was also mentioned.

Thanks to the several readers who helped us identify this gentleman.

I fielded several notes and calls from readers, including this one, which was e-mailed to me from Carol Rupp:

"A pastor recently challenged us to go forth and 'give hope to the hopeless and a voice to the voiceless'. Now, that is a pretty daunting task! However, as Lisa's article reminded us, a smile or friendly word doesn't take extra time or money but can still make a huge impact on someone else's day/life. It is an option open to people of any age, race, sex, socioeconomic group or station in life."

The writer went on to say:

"From a personal standpoint, I was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. My doctors were all professional and empathetic (and probably smiled as well), but I primarily regarded them as the bearers of bad news and the people whose skills and knowledge I would depend on to save or extend my life. I do, however, distinctly remember some people (volunteers in the gift shop, cleaning personnel) who smiled at me when I most needed it. They remain anonymous to me, but I believe that this is one of the ways that God works through humans; sometimes 'angels' appear at just the right time! I am glad that your wife's article was read by the bearer of the smiles and friendly words and many people who know him. I am also glad that Lisa reminded us all of the power of such actions."

Good stuff

• A while back, I put out a call for columnists. I think the column Lisa wrote last week has opened my eyes to a new opportunity.

Originally, my plan was to hire a couple of writers who would supply columns on a regular basis. But now my idea has changed.

I wanted to let you know that you have been hired. You. Yes, you.

Have something you want to say? E-mail your column of approximately 500 to 700 words to me, and send a photo along with it. The column must be related to Hastings and I reserve the right to edit it.

My e-mail address is crichardson@hastingsstar

See something that moves you? Write it down, send it in, and I'll publish it. In most cases.