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Editor’s Picks – Top 5 Stories 2019

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I find it hard to choose a top 5 out of the many stories that appeared in the pages of this year’s Gallup Sun. There are different reasons for each choice. My favorites always lean toward the animals, and social justice. I thought these five deserve another look before we close out the year.

Travelin’ Jack’s Story by Jill Lane Vol. 5, Issue 228; Aug. 16

So, kicking things off, this year I was introduced to Travelin’ Jack and his human companion, Jill Lane. I was moved by Jill’s devotion to her canine companion and the work they did together to benefit others.  I have no doubt that Travelin’ Jack is sorely missed and that somewhere he continues travelin’.

Two vets, three sodas, and a notebook - Beth Blakeman, Vol. 5, Issue 218; June 7:

When I had the opportunity to meet the delightful founders of the Rockin J Reawakenings Ranch and find out all they do for fellow veterans, their families and animals who need to be rescued, I was impressed with their work and how they weave together the different causes of helping veterans and their families to reconnect, giving hope to veterans and assisting them in getting on with their lives, rescuing horses and performing equine therapy; and rescuing dogs and training them to be companions for veterans. All of these things together weave a beautiful tapestry of healing.

A Look inside a ‘Navajo Code Talker Manual’ by Cody Begaye Vol. 5, Issue 244; Dec. 6

Cody’s Begay’s presentation of ‘A Navajo Code Talker’s Manual’ was a tricky piece to write. One of the most difficult things about it is that the reader doesn’t have access to the book Cody is describing, and unlike a standard book review, the reviewer here is not talking about the content in the book. Cody had a much more difficult assignment, because, this book was not about the experiences of the Code Talkers.  He was not re-telling a tale. This book was designed to communicate a small piece of the experience of being a Code Talker, by working to replicate what a Code Talker saw every day - a manual that guided the warriors in their mission to pass along information that ultimately saved the U. S. in World War II. And, this is one of my favorite stories, because Cody succeeded.  I can see that book in my mind’s eye.

Day in the life of a pizza lover by Dee Velasco Vol. 5, Issue 243; Nov. 29

I enjoyed this story because it made me laugh.  Dee Velasco took me for a ride through a day I wouldn’t necessarily have experienced otherwise. It wasn’t simply a lot of people stuffing their faces with pizza. It was a trip through Dee’s mind on a day when he was doing something that made him happy. Rather like running a marathon, he was all prepared, with his water and his family cheering him on, trying to psych out the competition. He only finished 5 slices, not enough to win the contest.  But he won anyway.  He successfully shared the experience so others could also have a good time, without all the calories and gluten.

Too drunk to care – Staff Reports Vol. 5, Issue 239; Nov. 1

Several of us contributed to this tale of woe. So we listed the byline as “Staff Reports.”  It was the content of this story that got to me. After seeing five police calls about child abandonment over a period of two days, I felt like quoting Death of a Salesmans Linda Miller saying, “Attention must be paid.”

By Beth Blakeman
Associate Editor