Wednesday, November 3, 2010

You Gotta Love a Feisty Woman

Danielle, Seth "Pinto", and Albany County Coroner-elect Kathleen
Don't get your knickers in a twist! I know, everyone and their great aunt is blogging about how someone did someone else wrong in the election yesterday. Bloggers the earth over are either elated or fractured over Nancy Pelosi's sad face on the news this morning. TAKE HEART! This blog, albiet about the election, isn't about them. It's about our youth. Specifically, MY youth, the gorgeous redhead on the right, above. She is another in a very long line of feisty, no-nonsense women in my family. At twenty-three, she was just elected Albany County Coroner here in Wyoming.

Kathleen has been a Deputy Coroner for over two years. She's one of those nameless, faceless people who pick up the wreckage of life. At twenty-one, she watched as a grieving father collapsed into the arms of a police officer when he heard the news that his child had been killed in a traffic accident. She sat silently by as another grieving parent held her daughter's hand one last time.  She has investigated the deaths of those killed by accident, those lost to suicide, those who die of natural causes, and those murdered by others. She does a job no one wants to do, and one that the rest of us don't even want to know about. In doing so, she's developed compassion and professionalism seldom seen in someone her age.

When her boss decided not to seek office again, he asked Kathleen to run. She agreed, but came to us with her worries. "What do I say to people who tell me I'm too young to do this job?"

I opened my mouth to answer, but it was her dad who spoke up. "Tell them that when your dad was your age, he was a platoon sergeant in Vietnam. Tell them your mom was a cop. Tell them that men and women your age die every week in service to this country."

And that's what we forget. We forget that young people aren't just about giant pants, loud music and poor decisions. They are our soldiers, our firefighters, our paramedics, our police. They come in the night when we fall and can't get up. And they come when we won't ever get up, carry us away, conduct an investigation and make a determination about how we died.

My daughter and her equally-young campaigners (Danielle and Seth, pictured above), fashioned a campaign that was informative and dignified. Kathleen made speeches at every opportunity, passed out voter information, and gave radio and newspaper interviews. Her minions enlisted canvassers who went door-to-door, talking to voters all over the county. Danielle and Seth never flagged in their unwavering support of their candidate.

Kathleen won this election because she not only ran an excellent campaign, but because she is by far the most qualified candidate. Her enthusiasm for her profession is obvious to anyone who talks to her.

The election's over now, and Kathleen's floated back to earth, knowing she's got huge responsibilities and a constituency she cannot let down. This is a big job. It takes a tough-minded, sensitive person to do it right.

Has this been a purely self-serving Mom Moment? Well, you can bet your bifocals it has been. But it should also be a reminder to you, dear readers, about the sacrifice and service  to which our young people dedicate themselves.

Finally, a note to Kathleen~~
You go, girl! The blood in your veins runs hot--filled with the vitality and strength of a whole wagon load of feisty, no-nonsense women, all of whom (even those with angel's wings) are busting their buttons over your accomplishments. Dad and I are unbelievably proud of you and awed by your ability and dedication.

Oh, and we love you. A lot.