Time caught me short writing the first part of this posting, so here is what Paul Harvey (God rest his soul) used to call "Page Two":
The week before ADK's State Convention, The Homestead's staff suffered a horrific loss. Two of their kitchen workers were shot by a third following an employment issue. Most employees there consider themselves family. They work there for decades and, in some cases, hand their positions down to a family member.
Death is bad enough. Death by violence is the devil's work on steroids. Dealing with its aftermath lasts like none other. In the face of all this, The Homestead employees encountered during my stay were lovely, helpful, cheerful and extended themselves in every way possible. The entire staff, from the outsider's perspective, appeared to be fully engaged in their efforts in spite of their loss. They were very graceful bearing this cross.
After our general assembly lunch our state president complimented the staff and acknowledged that they were performing exemplary service in the face of such emotional hardship. As if planned, we all stood and clapped. Nearly 350 educators offered a standing ovation, much to their amazement and deep appreciation.
Following our banquet, the same showing of thanks was offered only this time it took a different step. We also took containers and passed them for contributions for the families of the two deceased workers. We added to it the money collected from selling additional books and jars (a steal at $10 for both). By the end of the evening, we had collected over $3,000.
The next morning the money was divided into two jars and given to the general manager to offer to the families, and he did. This letter was received by Jason Wright:
From Michael Stinnett, Hot Springs, VA:
I am not very good at writing these, but my father was murdered last week along with another employee at his place of work. I was attending the viewing of the other employee killed when the GM of my hotel approuched me and handed me one of these jars. Inside was over $1500 that a fraternity had collected who did not even know who we where. Also included was an autographed copy of Christmas Jars. I do not have words and only hope that one day when things are better I can do the same for someone else who is going through a hard time. Thank you.