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November 26, 1994

A good friend of ours just got his drivers license the other day, and you should see the happy look on his face when he slides into that slick red pickup. It's like he's thinking, "Boy, is this gonna be great fun!" No, this is not a newly empowered 16-year-old enjoying a rite of passage. I'm talking about Dr. Paul Edmundson, the retired veterinarian, who qualifies as the newest comeback kid.

Dr. Paul was the victim of a devastating stroke about a year ago, not long after he was named Perry's outstanding citizen. The stroke left him unable to speak and partially paralyzed. He was -in critical condition for an agonizingly long time but medical science, the love of family and friends and many, many prayers put him back on the road to recovery.

Through it all, nothing seemed to rob him of that bright smile even when most of his muscles refused to respond when called upon. There was a look in his eyes that told you he was mot yet beaten and that his helpless condition was only temporary. Wife Lois and their two sons Todd and Wade devoted themselves to helping Dr. Paul recover. He's come a long way since those dark days

I couldn't begin to name all the others who figured significantly in that, but there were many. I do know Pastor Lynn Scott and Karen Wilcox were among those who contributed mightily in a program of water therapy at the YMCA pool. You probably could cite others, but let's just say it was truly a community effort. It's one of the characteristics of this town, isn't it?

Dr. Paul and I didn't get acquainted until he brought his veterinary practice to Perry several years back, but we learned that both of us were in military service at the same time in the Hawaiian islands for a while during World War II. We're both proud to say that the islands were very secure while we were there to defend them.

Now, Dr. Paul is still not where he wants to be, recuperation-wise, but seeing him walking into the Y unassisted, driving his pickup again, smiling that famous smile and exchanging greetings once more, well, I think we all feel an inspirational gift. This is a good time of year to reflect upon the many blessings all of us enjoy, and to realize that we foolishly take most of them for granted.

Once we've been deprived of good health, the things of material value seem very trivial. The love of family and friends, along with the miracle of God's healing power, clearly come into focus as paramount instruments of survival. Happy holidays!