When we set our themes for 2019 we knew we wanted this issue to be about people in our community that go above and beyond the “call of duty.”
What exactly that means will likely vary from person to person, but for the intent of this issue, we are defining it as someone in any line of work or within any organization that does far more than what is expected.
Although some of their stories can be found in this issue, it’s not necessarily just the first responders or service men and women that we wanted to highlight. We also wanted to include others who have gone above and beyond their personal calls of duty as well.
Sherrie Bratcher did a wonderful job of highlighting the life and legacy of longtime Artesia resident Gary Sims, who passed away earlier this year. The heartwarming memories his daughters shared are sure to encourage you to live a life of service to others, just like Gary did.
Another story you will want to make sure to read is the one written by Kayla Cardwell. Kayla is the niece of Major Keith Butler, an Artesia native who spent 37 years serving in the United States Marine Corps and Army before being killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan in 2014. Kayla takes us inside the lives of Butler’s family and shows us a side of him that was not known to very many people.
There are other great stories and tidbits tucked inside this issue of Focus on Artesia that I hope you will take the time to read as well. We also included some great summertime recipes, some tips for growing the perfect tomatoes, comments from our Facebook followers about their love of our great community, and of course our helpful calendar of events for the entire region.
I would like to apologize to our readers and advertisers for the delay in printing our summer issue, which was originally slated for a mid-June publication. For the first time in the seven years I have been doing this, an unforeseen life event got in the way of my work. In April, we lost my 14-year-old nephew very unexpectedly. It turned our world upside down and wedged a block in my brain for anything other than family. It was extremely difficult to write about positive, uplifting things when my heart was anything but. Watching my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephews suffer an unimaginable loss has almost been too much to bear. But by the grace of God we have managed to press on, knowing He alone will sustain us.
With that being said, I would like to dedicate this issue to my nephew, Jaylon Henry Earl — a kind, tender, sweet soul whose presence is missed more than he could ever have imagined. Being an aunt is one of my absolute favorite titles, responsibilities, and privileges. Until we meet again, my love!
Staci Guy, Editorial Director
Letter originally published in Focus on Artesia 2019: Summer Edition.