The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC


September 10, 2012

Life is a fragile thing

TARBORO — Two stories in today’s edition remind us just how fragile life is ... the one about the 18-year-old drowning while on a family outing along the Tar River and the other, about a state trooper with Tarboro and Edgecombe County ties who was killed in the line of duty Saturday morning.

I’ve often joked that when it’s time, it’s time — but that I don’t want to be on the plane when it’s the pilot’s time.

But there is nothing funny about the reality of death, even for those who deal with it all the time.

Kevin Jaimes was out to have fun with his family ... the weather had been hot and the water of the Tar River, especially with a sand bar in clear sight, seemed to lend itself to cooling off and relaxing.

The outing turned into anything but for Jaimes and his family — and for emergency responders who took to the muddy, debris-filled river in search of the young man.

It is bad enough to know a life has been lost, but think about the family members who watched him struggle for life and the emergency personnel, who had arrived in time to see him come up for air one last time, yet had no chance to save his life.

West of Rocky Mount, near the Spring Hope exit, Trooper Bobby Demuth, a 1988 graduate of Tarboro High School and former Edgecombe County deputy, was struck and killed by a fleeing felon as he attempted to place stop sticks on U.S. 64.

Demuth, like all law enforcement officers, had to have understood the dangers inherent to his public service, yet he put on his uniform on a daily basis and took to the roads to protect and serve the public.

Just like Jaimes, Demuth leaves family and friends to remember him and to wonder why.

And it seems that despite the fact the Lord teaches us it is not our role to ask why things happen, we take it upon ourselves as part of the human psyche ... after all, don’t we have to have an explanation for everything that happens?

We visited with recently retired Tarboro fire chief Billy Whitaker the other day and he said it’s hard to keep the adrenaline from rushing when he hears a siren.

He laughed about it as he said he had to remember it wasn’t his job any more.

But regardless of our standing in life ... whether we work for hourly wages, are retired, wealthy or struggling to keep our heads above water ... the fragile nature of life and the manner in which it can be snatched from us in a heartbeat should serve as a reminder to savor every moment life has to offer.

As you walk down the sidewalks of life, remember to give smiles away freely, open doors for others, speak to everyone you see and help those less fortunate ... after all, smiles are free, opening doors is good exercise, a kind word is music to another’s ear and, but for the grace of God, you could be the one deemed less-fortunate.

•     •     •

Despite the fact I love bluegrass music, Stephanie and I got up early Saturday — okay, Bridget got us up early Saturday — and we got the gear together and drove to Nags Head.

As some of you may know, Bridget is our 5-year-old shelter Lab who puts smiles on our faces daily, even when she walks us up at 4 a.m. for scratches!

We had taken her to Lake Pontchartrain a couple of times and to local creeks when we were still in Louisiana and to the Tar River over in Rocky Mount, but the beach and ocean was something entirely new for her.

And I have to admit that she and Stephanie handled her in the surf — especially with th dangerous current flags — than I must admit I did.

But all’s well that ends well and this trip ended just that way ... with Bridget snoring well into the night!

(John H. Walker is editor and publisher of The Daily Southerner and may be reached at 823-3106 or

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  • The legacy of Joe W. Dickens Jr.'s dash

    Joe W. Dickens Jr.
    Sept. 14, 1953 - March 21, 2014
    The above statement is profound in its own way. It signifies the birth and the death of one of the most influential men in Edgecombe Coun

    March 31, 2014


    On July 28, 911 was called because my husband had a bad headache. I was transferred to communications in Edgecombe County, where I spoke to a female operator. I informed her I needed Rescue because my husband had a bad headache and gave her our address and telephone number.

    September 26, 2013


    To the Editor:
    Sheriff Knight’s “guys” may have worked hard on the case concerning Melvin Ray Fox, but did they really? Probably not for the sheriff, but for someone else behind the scenes. Not condoning Mr. Fox for his crime, because he should be punished, but not necessarily in the manner of leaving behind his wife as well as his 3-, 5- 7- and 13-year-old children.

    September 10, 2013


    Concerning the Tarboro High 2013 Vikings football team: They have heart and desire. That was shown Friday night versus Washington. Just like last year’s state championship game, we got behind against a very good team. The Vikings didn’t quit even though they had several injuries throughout the game.  Right up to the last minute we had a chance  but, things didn’t go our way.

    September 5, 2013


    To the Editor:
    It appears Mr. (Garland) Shepheard is shaking up things in our fair city according to a recent Daily Southerner article. Hurrah for him. This citizen, for one, believes the status quo needs a little shake up.
    I don’t know if Mr. Shepheard is disrespectful with his words and/or
    actions at council meetings or not. I don’t attend them any longer. It isn’t that I don’t care that some residents may suggest.

    September 4, 2013


    To the Editor:
    Having just recently read the front page article in The Daily Southerner regarding Councilman Shepheard’s issues with the Tarboro town manager, I was left with more questions than answers.
    The article states that  Mr. Shepheard’s reasons for not voting in favor of extending the town manager’s contract had to do with “deplorable conditions of three town facilities, Thornton’s hiring practices and giving the council what he said was false information.” That’s it.  That’s all the information we were given.

    September 2, 2013


    To the Editor:
    So who are you Mr. Allen Dennie Jr.? I have never heard of you. I have tried to find your voter registration on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website and I can't find it.
    Somebody said that you have an impressive resume. I say and ?
    But what I find interesting is the following. Mr. Dennie the current Sheriff is the following: "The sheriff of any county should be a person who has a personal interest in the citizens that work live and visit their county,"

    August 18, 2013


    To the Editor:
    I am glad that opinions are being expressed regarding my actions at the Town Council meetings,  both by Mr. Walker and Mr. Wooten.
    It is my intention to expose the concerns expressed to me by the taxpayers of Tarboro, and when I find something that causes Tarboro not to be the Town we can all be proud of, I will speak up. I was told by people in Ward 8 when I ran for this office not to be like the rest of the Council and I expressed that to the members. The problems that exist in Tarboro should not have to be aired in public or at the Town Council Meetings and there should not be any discord.

    August 18, 2013


    To the Editor:
    I am writing out of concern about disc golf. We as a town need to consider projects that have been given to (parks and recreation director) Cheryl Gay before this disc golf came along — like a walking trail at Clark Park, repairing the bathrooms, making sure the playground equipment is up-to-date and finding out what happen to the lights on the baseball field before we find money for disc golf. The town needs to consider what we been discussing in these last couple of meetings about recreation. I would love to see the Clark Park baseball field turned into a kickball field, which is a sport that everybody knows how to play, before you consider disc golf.
    Greg Higgs,

    August 15, 2013


    To the Editor:
    Monday night at the Town Council meeting (Aug. 12, 2013), I witnessed some the most disruptive,vitriolic and asinine behavior that I’ve ever seen, in the person of (Ward 8) councilman Garland Shepheard.  For several months, his behavior has grown progressively worse and it seems to embolden him to waste my time, the time of the other council members and the time of other citizens who care enough about Tarboro to attend council meetings.

    August 15, 2013

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