Letters to The Editor – November 14th, 2018

Published 5:25 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Flue was WWI killer

Editor, Smithfield Times
Great piece in last week’s Times by Diana McFarland about local WWI soldiers. Her collaboration with the Isle of Wight County Museum produced a valuable historical insight into the effects of that war on our citizenry. Our Museum is a treasure trove of information on local history. 
Although I’m a “come here,” please allow me to pass on two connected WWI stories from my own family.
My paternal grandfather William Albert Burckard was a struggling electrical contractor in Norfolk early last century. His company, W.A. Burckard Electric, prospered after he was awarded a contract in 1917 to convert several impounded German ships from European 220 DC to American 110 AC electrical current. With the company expanding rapidly, he could afford a driver for his new company car.
He hired a skilled African-American fellow named “Sam.” Unfortunately, we grandchildren never knew Sam’s last name. Sometime in early 1918, my grandfather, who was too old to enlist, convinced Sam that his duty was to join the Army. Sam enlisted as a volunteer and was sent to Richmond for training — with disastrous results. He never returned. He fell victim to the Spanish Flu pandemic then sweeping the globe. He became sick in an Army Camp and died shortly thereafter.
My grandfather retold this tragic story to us many times. He said it was the worst mistake he ever made in his life. I think he always felt a bit atoned for Sam’s death by passing on this story and the memory of him to us. 
BTW, the latest VFW Magazine reports U.S. casualties in World War I as 53,513 Hostile Deaths and 63,195 Non-Hostile Deaths. A Note following states: “Most of the non-hostile deaths were due to an influenza epidemic that swept through stateside Army camps in 1918.”
Albert Burckard

Thornton should pay

Editor, Smithfield Times
The last couple of local newspapers have drawn attention to the spending of money for “lock doors” in the schools. It appears that the Superintendent doesn’t like this discussion in the news and readers to the editor section of the paper. He addressed it and said he was responsible. When one accepts responsibility, one must accept the accolades for good work and criticism for bad work. The Superintendent has accepted responsibility, now he should reimburse the county for his mistake. Spending $65,000 is like taking $2 from each person in the county. Now $2 isn’t much, unless all one has is $1.
The increase in the budget to cover new schools and maintenance to the current ones, in my mind is another superintendent mistake and should be stopped before there is a 12 cent increase to the tax rate. Why is it that a project of this magnitude must be addressed in one single year tax increase? Also, the portion of his proposed increase that addresses maintenance should already be in the budget covering current and past years.
In the 28-plus years that I have lived in this county, I cannot recall one year that there has been a decrease in the school budget. It appears to me that problem solving by the Superintendent is by throwing more tax money into the grinder, accept responsibility with no consequences, and move on to the next year and start over with increased budgets. 
Over the years I have learned that more Dollars doesn’t necessarily solve problems, but does create an environment for more mistakes and less sound judgments.
Ray Baxter

Poppy drive supporters

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Editor, Smithfield Times
We at the VFW Post 8545 would like to say a heartfelt thanks to our friends and neighbors here in Smithfield and Carrollton over the weekend of Nov. 10. Your abundant contributions to our annual poppy drive are sincerely appreciated. You have provided us with an ample budget to help the needy veterans of our area this year. You were more than generous and we are very grateful.
Chris Torre &
Members of
VFW Post 8545

‘Thank you’ to supporters

Editor, Smithfield Times
Thanks to all who supported the Carrollton Ruritan Club (CRC) in its twice-yearly fish fry fundraiser on Saturday a week ago Nov. 3. You helped us to break all records for turnout. We also deeply appreciate the generosity of sponsoring businesses and individuals whose special purchases and sales of tickets and contributions were $100 to $600 for this event and a total of $200 or more for this calendar year.
Thanks to: Suffolk Pest Control, The Oaks Veterinarian Clinic, Travis’s Auto Service, Lee Duncan with Wharf Hill Brewing Co., Farmer’s Service, Richard Turner with Isle of Wight & Suffolk Materials, Ferguson’s Automotive, Hannover Technical Sales, Jones & Jones Attorneys, Murry L. Nixon Fishery, Bobby Weeks with First Call Paint Ball, Laufer Insurance, John May, and partner members George Winslow and Healing Waters Worship Center.
Our Ruritan Club mission is community improvement through fellowship, goodwill and community service. Our fundraising efforts have helped us to sponsor decades of Scout Troop and Pack 36, provide seven scholarships this year of a total $5,000, support of the Carrollton Library summer reading program, and give other support for the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, Meals on Wheels, Food Pantries of Christian Outreach and Rescue Friends, school supplies, a Robotics team at Westside Elementary School and more.
Thanks again for your support of our work in the community.
Georgette Phillips
Jim Henderson
Carrollton Ruritan Club