Willie Jeffers is a quiet man, one who puts in a day’s work without complaining.
When you show up at The Lima News in the darkness of a snowy or ice-covered morning, you know Willie has been there before you. The walks have been shoveled and the ice melted by salt pellets to keep you from slipping on your way inside.
When you drive by The Lima News during the Christmas holiday and notice the beautifully decorated building, that’s Willie too.
He doesn’t wear any big job title. He’s just a Mr. Fix It. A Mr. Groundskeeper. A jack-of-all-trades.
Most of all, he’s Willie, a very nice man who bops into the newsroom once or twice a day and hauls away our recyclables; a person who maintains the building so we can provide you with a newspaper every day. A guy who is just trying to make both ends meet.
So we were saddened last week when we were told his daughter had died. That sadness later turned to shock when we learned she was murdered. The alleged killer was a man who was released from prison after serving only 13 years for murder. He also was found not guilty of rape charges this month.
How could such a person be left out of prison? How could the system fail so badly?
Wendy Jeffers, 39, was the mother of six and a registered nurse for 16 years at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
We cover too many stories like this in our business — terrible things happening to good people. Lives of children and parents forever changed because of violence. Loved ones left with the emptiness of mourning.
All of us at The Lima News want to let you know, Willie, that we are thinking of you and your family. You’re in our prayers.
ROSES AND THORNS: A preteen with a heart of gold finds her way into the rose garden.
Rose: To 12-year-old Elena Oliver, of Lima. Instead of birthday gifts, the Bath student collected $150 from friends and relatives and donated the money to the Allen Lima Leadership Teddy Bear Fund at Lima Memorial Health System.
Rose: The community of Ada is holding a festival to celebrate the local Wilson company that produces the Super Bowl footballs. It takes place Feb. 4, the day before the game, beginning at 4 p.m. and ending with a “football drop” at midnight.
Rose: To Jessica Gossard, of Wapakoneta. She and her family traveled to Washington to view the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The protests kept them from reaching their assigned section, but they found another spot to watch the festivities, which she said were humbling.
Rose: To Rick Sanchez, of CSX Railroad in Lima. He was honored for organizing a program to educate young motorists about rail crossing safety.
Thorn:Ohio and the Lima region are seeing a spike in the influenza virus for the first time this flu season with St. Rita’s Medical Center reporting more than 100 cases so far in January and Lima Memorial Health System seeing a 70 percent increase.
PARTING SHOT: Money talks …but all mine ever says is goodbye.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.