Washington column for Aug. 28

My friend Pres

I was saddened to hear of the death of my longtime friend Preston “Pres” Pulliam, who passed away on Sunday (Aug. 24). Losing a friend is never easy. We have to accept that this is going to be a very hard time in our life, but we can be reassured by the reality that we will get through this and that the best way to honor our friend is to retain his or her memory always alive in our heart.

Pres was a true friend, one who always listened and knew what to say, when to give a hug and when you were having a bad day; one who enjoyed eating out. No one will ever take his place. I can promise this: He will always be missed. As long as I breathe, he will always be remembered and his memory will always be in my heart.

Pres, my friend, this poem by Jacklyn N. Hayes, “Forever Friend,” is for you:

Words could never tell you
How important you’ll always be,
Just little things that you do
That are especially meant for me.
You always seem to remember
All the things to do.
That makes friends last forever,
And share a bond so true.
I’m so glad God gave to me
Someone just like you.
He knew that you would be
One of the chosen few!

Pres will be missed by all who knew him. His burial will be private, and a celebration of his life will be held at a later date. My condolences to his family.

Condolences

Condolences go out to Daphne Hutchinson and her family on the death of her son, Jon McCullough, 48. He died Aug. 15 at the Veterans Hospital in Atlanta, Ga. Jon graduated from Rappahannock County High School in 1985 and served in the U.S. Coast Guard. A disabled veteran, Jon sustained a traumatic brain injury and permanent neck and shoulder damage in an accident while his Coast Guard cutter was on drug patrol in heavy seas.

Following a medical discharge, he attended the American University in Washington, D.C., graduating with a degree in environmental health. His advocacy of sports for individuals with disabilities began while he was at AU with his volunteer service as competition coordinator for the men’s standing volleyball team.

He went on to try out for the national men’s soccer team and was a starter for Team USA for 12 years, playing in the Paralympics in Atlanta and Athens, and carrying the Paralympic torch in the ceremonies to begin the 2012 games in London, England. He played in three World Championships and three Para-Pan American Games, was named to the World All-Star team in 1988 and earned the tournament’s sportsmanship award.

A memorial service celebrating his life is Saturday, Sept. 6, at the 4-H Education Center in Front Royal.

Wishes

Birthday wishes go to Loring Anderson Jr., who celebrates his 80th birthday today (Thursday, Aug. 28). For those who do not know Loring, he’s the brother of John Anderson, who owns Jessamine Hill Farm down on Tiger Valley Road.

Whenever he would drive by the newspaper office, Loring would always blow his horn at us, and I knew he was on his way to the family farm or on his way home. Happy birthday, Loring! May you have many more.

Labor Day weekend

Just because kids are heading back to school, long summer days are coming to an end and Christmas items are showing up in the stores doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up the patio grill. Labor Day is the perfect time to throw a fantastic season-ending cookout. Invite your friends and family over and have a blast.

Just remember that the highway patrol will be out in force this weekend, making sure the roads are safe for us. Let’s make sure we keep our focus solely on the road while we are traveling to and from family and friends. Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day weekend!

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