This past October, the community of Hillsboro lost a giving soul – Lanty McNeel.
Lanty was known for his generosity and kind heart. His wife, Janet, hopes to keep that memory alive for future generations by donating to local organizations in his honor.
“Lanty was all about supporting the community,” she said. “He was always making donations to the fire department, to the church.”
The McNeels have also made donations to the schools. Most recently, Janet donated books for all the third grade students in Pocahontas County.
The book is about Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician who was born, raised and educated in Greenbrier County. She has been the subject of several publications, including “Hidden Figures,” by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was developed into a film of the same name.
For the third graders, the book of choice is “Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13,” by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk.
“I was at the library in Hillsboro and read it,” Janet said. “It’s a perfect picture book for third grade.”
The McNeels previously donated the same book to the third grade students in Greenbrier County.
The book follows a young Katherine through her childhood – when she discovered she loved mathematics – and into her accomplishments as a mathematician at NASA.
“I got really interested in her story,” Janet said. “John Glenn was an astronaut who would not go out into space unless Katherine was involved in all the mathematical calculations. She was a brilliant lady.”
Janet said she hopes the students enjoy the books which were given as a reminder of Lanty’s generous spirit.
“I did this as a way to remember him,” she said. “He touched a lot of lives. He was much loved.”