Dear Editor,

First of all, let me just say that I’m a flatlander from Florida, but I love Pocahontas County. I’ve been visiting my best friend, Laura Dean Bennett, and the extended Mary Lou Dilley family here for 26 years.

I’ve come to make a lot of friends here and learn a lot about the area. Sometimes I think I know almost as much about the place as a native.

I’ve been lucky enough not to be caught out on a desolate country road with car trouble or a flat tire all these years- until last week. I was driving into Marlinton from the Hill Country when it felt like the truck wasn’t driving right. Then I heard that terrible thumping sound which meant I had a flat tire. And it was a bad one. I crept along looking for a place to pull over and there, not too far up the road, was a pretty blue house.

I’ve heard many stories about how well treated stranded motorists are in this part of the world, and now I was one of them.
It was a bitter cold day, and I can’t tell you how good it felt to be welcomed into the warm home of Duane and Sarah Gibson. Mr. Gibson offered to change the tire, while Mrs. Gibson plied me with food and water.

This is Pocahontas County, so, of course, this story has a happy ending- I was back on the road in no time with a new tire from Fisher’s.

I’ve always loved meeting people here, but I’d never had my truck break down and needed to bumble into someone’s home the way I did that day. The Gibson’s couldn’t have treated me better if I was family.

All I can say is, the incomparable natural beauty of Pocahontas County is only exceeded by the warmth and hospitality of its people.

Thank you, Pocahontas County. You are a wonderful place to visit!

Sincerely,
Sarah Williams
Wellborn, Florida

Dear Editor,

I am writing to thank Marlinton residents for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with children in need this past holiday season.

Because of the generosity of donors in Marlinton and across the United States, Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, collected more than 8.8 million shoeboxes in 2018. Combined with those collected from partnering countries in 2018, the ministry is now sending more than 10.6 million shoebox gifts to children suffering from poverty, natural disasters, war, disease and famine.

These simple gifts bring smiles to the faces of children around the world. Packed with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items, these gifts bring joy and are a tangible expression of God’s love. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

It’s not too late for people to make a difference. Though drop-off locations serving Marlinton shoebox packers are closed until November 2019, anyone can still pack a personalized shoebox gift online at samaritanspurse.org/buildonline
Information about year-round volunteer opportunities can also be found at samaritanspurse.org/volunteerwithOCC

Thank you again to everyone who participated in this global project—many who do so year after year. These simple gifts send a message to children worldwide that they are loved and not forgotten.

Dana Williams
Operation Christmas Child

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