FirstSteps2-thAnniversary (copy)

Jeremy Fleming lines up SC First Steps supporters for a group shot on the Statehouse steps to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the state's early childhood education program in September. file/Cindi Ross Scoppe/staff

The success of the South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness program should help move the state toward the goal of improving its perennially low ranking in education.

And it is good to see that parents have been oriented to view the education of their children as a critical job in shaping how they will live as they enter the working world.

Perhaps another program could be added to follow up on First Steps.

South Carolina media could provide various public service announcements directed at parents to emphasize that education should be their No. 1 priority. That would give parents a chance to be “educated on education.”

The upside would be far better than having to see ads for products that in some cases have cut children’s lives short.

RICHARD UJVARY

Waterlily Way

Summerville

Thanks to hospice

I want to express gratitude to Hospice of Charleston. I was unaware of the wide range of services offered to patients.

My husband has been a Parkinson’s disease patient since 2000. He had a fall in 2014 that left him unable to care for himself, and I became his sole caregiver.

This summer, he got pneumonia, was hospitalized, then sent home to die. There was nothing else the doctors could do for him.

July 13 was a difficult time for me. Palliative care was begun because I was not ready for hospice (because I thought they only take care of the dying).

I was clearly in denial, thinking I was the only one who could care for him. As it turned out, palliative care was not what I expected. I needed someone 24 hours a day, someone who could relieve me for a few hours. Hospice of Charleston provided that someone.

It was the best thing I could do for my husband and myself. Hospice workers didn’t take over; they joined me in taking care of him. We started a log to keep track of his schedule and the equipment being brought in for his care.

Hospice workers were watching over him and me as well. Hospice of Charleston is not only for the dying. It is there for the care of the living too.

SHANNON POLNY

Lacrosse Road

North Charleston

‘OK, Boomer’

I recently was told that the quip “OK, Boomer” is not exactly brimming with respect toward the older generation. Some of my peers even get angry when they hear it said to them. Do I? Not so much.

When I see or hear those two words, I just smile. It wasn’t that long ago I was disrespectful to my elders with a roll of my eyes. And that is the thing: It wasn’t that long ago.

50 years later, Woodstock generation looks back, from varied vantage points

My second smile is directed at those spouting this catchphrase. They don’t understand that smile, but I have a secret they will understand only when they reach their golden years.

Yes, they will become “boomers” too, with all the aches and pains, money worries and the loss of friends.

They will see the world they once knew so well changing before their eyes. They will be on the receiving end of less-than-respectful quips from their grandchildren.

My secret isn’t all that mysterious. It’s that their time will come faster than they ever realized. All of their plans and schemes will come to naught, and the next generation will have begun to take over. It is inevitable.

Who said “youth is wasted on the young”? Someone observing a younger generation, I’m sure.

ALFRED F. CROUCHER III

Kell Place

Charleston

Changes to VA

I’m a Vietnam veteran. Four years ago, I went for a hearing test and it was determined that I needed hearing aids. Through the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, I was fortunate enough to get them for free. I also was told by one of the outstanding audiologists that I was entitled to complimentary batteries and hearing aid supplies for the rest of my life. I was and am very grateful.

I used to call the VA Denver Acquisition & Logistics Center whenever I needed supplies and never waited more than two or three minutes before someone answered and took my order.

Since early 2016, it has taken considerably longer for someone to answer, and I would get a message about staff cutbacks and longer wait times.

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to order new batteries and ear buds. A recorded message informed me I was 78th in the queue.

This is a microcosm of how veterans who have put their lives on the line for their country are being treated today.

RON OSSO

Gazania Way

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Charleston

Extra effort

Early on Nov. 14, I took some papers to the Dorchester County Recycling Center in Summerville and inadvertently threw away an important document.

When my wife and I realized it, we rushed back to the center and asked an employee if the document could somehow be retrieved.

A truly kind employee, Thomas Brown, climbed into the bin containing paper and spent a half hour searching for the lost letter.

It wasn’t found but, by then, Mr. Brown’s patience and good-hearted spirit were more important to my wife and I than the lost letter.

A beloved uncle of mine once said to me, “Willie, in this life, it’s the little extras that count.”

Mr. Brown’s consideration, patience and kind spirit were the embodiment of the truth of my uncle’s words and of these words from a song only senior citizens are apt to know: “Little things mean a lot.”

Bless you, Thomas Brown.

WILLIAM J. DECKER

Sanderson Lane

Summerville

Lottery rebate

News of a $50 tax rebate check related to the big Mega Millions lottery jackpot was recently announced.

A 31-year-old facility for homeless Charleston veterans is at risk of running out of money

I wasn’t expecting this money and think we would be better served by directing it to our teachers or struggling charitable organizations. A Nov. 11 article described how Carolina Homeless Veterans was in need of funding. It’s 31 year old nonprofit run by Martha Alston. I urge folks to read this article and give to the organization. Perhaps others will agree that this “found” money should go to those in need and donate their $50.

Jimmy Gibson

Marsh Creek Drive

Charleston