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Associate with better individuals; I’m very glad I did

There’s nothing special about me.
I do not deem myself wise. I will never be confused with Confucius.
I do not consider myself handsome. Better chance I will be labeled pitiful instead of Brad Pitt.
And I am not smooth on the dance floor. I would have people stare at me for the complete opposite reasons they would watch Fred Astaire.
With that said, I, however, have been smart enough in my lifetime to associate myself with some amazing people. I hope their ability to amaze counteracts some of my inadequacies.
I first met one such astounding person in 1995 as I ventured into the vast jungle of employment after college. I had a few job offers as I left the friendly confines of Georgia Southern University to head to daily city publications where I would have covered law enforcement, courts and government.
However, it would be an employment opportunity from a small town in northern Florida that not only would alter my life as a journalist, but also a human being. I would be hired as the editor of a weekly newspaper right out of college. For those not privy to how the world of newspapering works, going from being the editor of your college campus newspaper to being an employed editor of a newspaper is rare unless your father owns a publication. My dad did not operate a printing press in our family’s basement. For that matter, my home in Northwest Georgia did not even have a basement.
I learned a lot at my first paying job about how to relate with others and I became more acquainted with who I am as a person, but it was meeting a friend of our newspaper’s advertising representative that would be the most inspirational.
Her name was Lorie. When she initially saw me, Lorie thought I was an entry-level staff writer. She probably thought so because of my age. I couldn’t have been my lack of management skills … at least I hope it wasn’t.
When Susan, our advertising representative, told her friend that I instead was the editor, Lorie seemed impressed. I suppose that worked in my favor.
Lorie and I would become close. When her company shifted its operations from Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale, Lorie moved down to the more frantic lower east coast of Florida, while to accepted a job opening at a daily on the calmer southern Gulf side of the Sunshine State.
In Fort Lauderdale, Lorie was the director of customer service for an international jewelry corporation. In time, I ascended to the position associate editor in Cape Coral.
Lorie would move to the Greater Fort Myers-Cape Coral area where I resided to work for a computer repair company. Again, as I mentioned, I try to link up with individuals who are better than me. Well, Lorie agreed to marry me. I was the fortunate one in that union.
We would have three children – two boys and a girl – before we would arrive in Sylvania in mid-December 2002. Our fourth child – another daughter – would be born a couple years later.
Thanks in most part to my wife, our children are very bright. If I were scheduled to have a one-on-one competition with any of my children involving a standardized test, I probably would call in sick that day to save myself the embarrassment.
Lorie does an incredible job with the kids and I include myself in the “kids” listing. It truly takes a saint to put up with a person like me.
While she has four children of her own, those aren’t Lorie’s only ones. When she assists at the elementary school, leads boys as the Cubmaster, and directs at the camp at the Black Creek Scout Reservation, Lorie has numerous youth who seek her guidance and her tender heartedness.
And Lorie is always so accommodating.
Our local citizens are often encouraged to be a part of the elementary school’s Parent-Teacher Organization, or PTO as it is commonly referred, but sadly very few parents actually involve themselves.
The PTO is a fantastic way to make a difference in the school system. Lorie understands this. Typically, she would be the “P” in the PTO at the meetings. Without her, it would be just “TO.” With that acknowledged, it should not be a surprise to you that Lorie now is the PTO president.
I urge you to join the PTO and other worthy community groups that brighten our today and invigorate our tomorrow.
And speaking of brightening today, this 27th day of June, it is Lorie Autry’s birthday. Happy birthday Dear. Love ya.
If you happen to see the very busy Lorie, wish her a joyous B-Day, but also thank her for all that she does for the youth of our community. I know I thank God for her every day.
I’m not special, but Lorie is.

Enoch Autry is the publisher-editor of the Sylvania Telephone.