99°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Do something nice for a veteran next week

Veterans Day is Monday. Some people get the day off. Some don’t. There will likely be a lot of flags, maybe some red, white and blue cupcakes. Some will travel to Las Vegas for a parade, or watch it on TV.

Some will make a trip to the Nevada State Veterans Home to visit a special friend or family member. In fact, the facility will host its annual Veterans Day ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

Still, like most holidays it has become a bit commercialized. We may think of it as just another day off.

Still, I see it as important.

As interim editor here in Boulder City. I gave myself an assignment to photograph the annual Veterans Olympics at the Nevada State Veterans Home a couple of weeks ago.

I thought about my old editor David Ellingson who was a Vietnam veteran, and he believed in the freedoms of our country. Mainly, the right to criticize the government, which he did often.

David was a hard-core editor, who had worked for several McGraw-Hill publications in New York and Newsweek. He taught me a lot as a cub reporter. One of the most significant lessons I learned from him is don’t be afraid to ask anything. You have that right.

Freedom of speech to him was like a religion. Every time he hit the typewriter, he would wrap himself up in the rights of the pen and plug away. But with that right, he would say, came responsibility: You must be accurate and fair, you must have done your research. There can never be too much research.

I was one of many young reporters Dave mentored over the years. He was not for the fainthearted. He could be kind and giving, but he was also a taskmaster. He’d pick and prod your story from every angle, making sure it was solid, had no holes or crevices.

He drank, smoked, cursed and was one of the most stubborn editors I have ever had. And I loved him for it. He never settled for what was easy. He wanted everything done right. Dave may not have been a traditional kind of vet, but he did teach me a lot about honor, respect and integrity.

Over the years, rheumatoid arthritis robbed him of the ability to walk, and he was wheelchair bound. Still, he was the boss of his life, and no doctor was going to tell him what to do.

He clung to his independence for more than a decade before things got so bad he had to enter the Nevada State Veterans Home.

He did not go quietly. He cussed and complained the whole way. He feared they would take away some of his rights. And he wasn’t so sure he would get along with all those veterans.

“But you are a vet,” I told him from his bedside in a room he rented in a private group home for people like him who needed assistance but wanted to be on their own.

“So?” he said.

When my friend Jamie McKee and I finally got him settled in to the fine Boulder City facility, we all three breathed easier. It was apparent he was safer and would have better care.

Pumped full of vitamins and antibiotics he would roll out onto the grounds, enjoying the piped music and a cigarette. Holding one had become increasingly difficult, but he managed.

Our long talks about newspapers, politics and philosophy over dinner and drinks had become walks along the paths that wound around his new home; maybe some coffee and conversation at one of the park benches.

Dave was a newspaper man, and for years we had discussed at great length the stories that had appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

In the last few years of his life he turned his focus on the Boulder City Review. He read it up until the last few weeks of his life. He always had a comment, criticism, maybe a little praise for the articles that appeared in what was now his hometown paper.

As the end drew near, I asked him if he wanted me to get the chaplain. He never talked about religion, and I wasn’t sure if he had ever belong to a church.

“No. I’ve already kicked that guy out of my room three times this week. I know what’s going to happen when I die. I’ll be part of the sky, the ocean, the forests. I’ll be part of you.”

That’s the last time I talked to Dave.

Where ever he is now, I’m sure he is at a desk somewhere, reading the R-J and the Boulder City Review.

Hey, Dave, there is a new editor in town. Forward all your comments to Hali Bernstein Saylor at 702-586-9523.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Find unity in, through prayer

My dad had a standby joke about prayer that he repeatedly told in various forms for 28 years as a Clark County commissioner. It never failed to bring the house down with laughter.

Enjoy education’s escapades

Monday was a big day for Boulder City’s younger residents.

Be true friend indeed

There’s an old saying that I’ve never been truly able to wrap my head around: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” I researched the phase’s origin and found references to the earliest possible version. Roman Quintas Ennius wrote circa 300 B.C., “A sure friend is known when in difficulty.” I’ve heard of old sayings but that old?

City needs fair, equitable solution to hangar woes

The local government of Boulder City made an enormous mistake. It’s OK to make a mistake occasionally; what is much more important is to admit it and find a way to correct it.

Blockbuster dream: Movies at historic theater

The Boulder Theatre is a magnificent piece of the city’s history. As the first building in Boulder City with air conditioning, it provided reprieve from the heat for the dam workers. And I think it’s time for the building to be returned to its previous use. Bring back summer movies at the theater.

It’s time to ‘Be Boulder’

Except for those few moments every now and then when the cynical journalist in me creeps out, I like to consider myself a positive person. I look for the best in people and try to ignore, as much as possible, their faults.

First impressions count

It has been quite the move from Pennsylvania to Nevada for little ol’ me (Hi, I’m Owen Krepps, the new guy at the Review). If you’ll spare me the time, I would like to share some of my observations with the town that I have made in my first month living here.

Opinions are like armpits

“Opinions are like armpits … we all have them but think only ours don’t stink!” Author unknown.

Water conservation top priority for city

With the results of the primary election last month I will resume writing this monthly column for the remainder of my term as mayor ending in November. I congratulate Joe Hardy as the next mayor of Boulder City and look forward to a smooth transition in working with Joe.