It's often said that from trials and tribulations come strength.
Such is the case for Cookie West and her daughters, who nearly one year ago lost a son and a brother, in a house fire in Steubenville.
The West family still mourns the loss of Lee West, who was 15 years old. But they continue to turn that tragedy into something positive for the entire community.
The West family once again has decided to give back to the community that embraced them following Lee's death. A free community Christmas party is planned from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center in the city. That's where guests can enjoy pizza and cookies, as well as a family basketball tournament.
An event held during the summer celebrated Lee's birthday, and it was estimated that more than 1,500 people were on hand at Belleview Park. Area residents turned out to mark what would have been Lee's 16th birthday, and so did members of the city's fire department, as well as a D.A.R.E. officer.
The Steubenville Fire Department also is scheduled to attend Saturday's event, and Cookie West believes, as do we, that the firefighters are a vital part of our community.
On Saturday the firefighters will help explain what happened to her son in that fire, and they will be available to talk about the dangers involved, including carbon monoxide dangers.
Cookie West said her son always wanted to give back to his community, so she's making sure that continues to happen even now.
Undeniably, it is still hard for Cookie West to talk about her son. But we all are blessed to be able to participate in these activities honoring Lee. She's helping to bring out the good, the compassion, in our youth - in all of us - and that's something we're always in need of.