Dear Editor,

Lincoln County Optimists had the opportunity to assist DART at their Teen Summit on October 22nd for local middle school students. 

The Awakening Project by Joe Richardson and Jeff Mozingo on drums was powerful, as were the speakers. They are very dedicated in getting the story out about the insidious danger of alcohol and drugs. 

I predict it will make a noticeable effect in reducing the number of addiction and abuse incidences by this generation of Troy teens. Many other prevention organizations were present at the Teen Summit. 

I was especially impressed by the Lincoln County Resource Board sponsored Preferred Family Healthcare group in Troy that offers programs to youth who aren’t involved in organized sports or activities. They meet with individual students during school hours. In talking with Chenoa, she described with enthusiasm the fun she shared with children this summer at the park.  

I started thinking about how great it would be if their program could be expanded to include more children during after-school hours. That would require a second bus run. But if it reduced the drug-alcohol incidence and related costs, it would surely pay for itself in the long run. 

At present, Preferred Family Healthcare serves “at-risk” children, but all our children are at risk for being influenced by “friends” who readily have those forbidden substances. 

I’d like to see us become the “village” that raises all our children with tender attention and interactive activities. I envision a trove of volunteers to help with such a large program- for one hour after school. Maybe bus driver would put in extra hours for getting to know and play with the individual children. 

In September, Norm McFadden spoke at the Optimist open meeting. His “Americans’ Right to Dream” was personal. 

He stated there are four things that stop us for fulfilling our dreams: words, people, money and learning disabilities. At a young age he wanted to be a policeman, but his Dad said he wasn’t smart enough and wasn’t form the right part of town. 

(1) He didn’t let his Dad’s words discourage him, and went to the home of the town sheriff, and told him what his dad had said. Well, that sheriff put him on Dispatch and eventually he made it to Deputy Sheriff. 

(2) He thought he could be a wrestler, but a lot of his friends told him he was too small and they would just stomp him. Norm described how he called people, was told to come on up…and he became a professional wrestler in the WWF. 

(3) Watching TV with his son, a commercial about Cardinal Glennon Hospital and all the kids they help impressed him. He wanted to help but didn’t have the money. That night he dreamed about a three-day concert with three stages, and knew it came form God. 

So he set about calling people to put it together. And it really did happen, at Troy Fairgrounds. 

He got 111 bands to play for free: it turned out to be the biggest concert held in the State of Missouri. By a guy that didn’t have any money. 

(4) Norm wanted to write a book. Friends and family said, “How are you going to write a book, you can’t even read one?” It turned out he had a hole in his eardrum. He got a tutor. Norm concluded saying, “If somebody said I couldn’t do it, I wanted to prove them wrong.” 

Norm has published two books: “Legends of Leeper Hollow” and “Legends of Leeper Hollow II.” He also writes and investigates for his “Lincoln’s Urban Legends” series, which appears monthly in The Lincoln County Journal newspaper.

Jane Luckett • Lincoln County Optimist Club

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