There’s nothing like unexpected good news to start off the New Year

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By Caroline Curran, Reporter

I was feeling particularly agitated last week after reading false and libelous claims a local public official wrote about me in a publication across the river when I got a good dose of what I like to call perspective.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, pulls at my heartstrings more than a soldier reunited with his or her family. When I logged onto my Beacon Facebook account Friday afternoon, I noticed that a Brunswick County native, Private First Class Aaron Farmer, returned home safely from Afghanistan, and had recently been reunited with his wife and their young daughter.

In terms of turning a bad day around, it just doesn’t get much better than that, folks. It really doesn’t.

You might recognize Aaron’s name. I’ve written about Aaron and his wife Chelsea twice before. They’re West Brunswick High School sweethearts who married and are raising a daughter, Chloe, who is about to celebrate her first birthday. But for most of young Chloe’s life, her father had been deployed in Afghanistan, proudly serving his country.

Thank you for your service, Aaron. Welcome home.

We wish Godspeed to all the soldiers and Marines (who have a special place in our hearts here at the Beacon), who continue to fight for us. We look forward to all their safe returns.

Later that afternoon, I received an email from the niece of Frances Stevenson, the woman we featured in last week’s Beacon who, along with her husband, lost everything in a devastating house fire just days before Christmas. Everything. It was heartbreaking to hear and to retell their story.

She said Frances Stevenson banks at the State Employees Credit Union. If anyone wants to make a donation in her name, they can do so at the Shallotte branch (on U.S. 17 across from Jones Ford).

Frances and her husband have a place to stay temporarily, but they are in need of some household items. I had already received some inquiries from people who want to help out the family, so I promptly forwarded the information to them.

My colleague Rachel Johnson, or as I like to call her, our charitable-giving coordinator, has written many times about the generosity of Beacon readers. She’s right. You all are an incredible bunch.

In that regard, and in many others, 2011 was an interesting year. There were ups and downs last year. I suppose that goes for any year. That’s life, after all. We’ve had our share of news, that’s for sure. Heck, we’ve even been the news, which we obviously try to avoid. But we’ve got a job to do, and we take it very seriously.

I don’t know what 2012 will bring, but I already know January will be action-packed, so if your subscription is about to run out, renew it. If you don’t have one, get one.

We have a redesigned newspaper, a great staff and no shortage of the news you want to read.

I look forward to bringing you the news in 2012, and, more importantly, I look forward to hearing your stories.

Best of luck to everyone in the New Year.

Caroline Curran is a staff writer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at ccurran@brunswickbeacon.com or (910) 754-6890.