Week of positive things

No matter where you stand — or sit — on the political spectrum, it’s probably safe to say that just about all of us can agree that there’s more than an ample dose of nastiness on display on the national level just about every day. And, if you let yourself get caught up in it, you might forget there are plenty of good things happening in our region.

There were a couple of reminders of that in the past week:

¯ On Tuesday, for instance, Trinity Health System officially rolled out its Code Honor Red, White and Blue Program. It’s designed to recognize veterans of the armed services who are patients, volunteers, associates or physicians, Trinity officials explained during an event held in the Sullivan Amphitheater.

“We have been working hard for the past several months to appreciate the men and women who risk their lives to defend our freedom,” explained Khoa Nguyen, the vice president of mission integration at Trinity.

The program honors employees and volunteers at Trinity who are veterans with special lanyards for their name tags and pins. Patients who have served and who have granted permission either personally or through a family member will be identified as a VIP in the hospital’s computers system, and will have a special America flag magnet applied to the doorframe at the entrance to their room and will be thanked for their service by staff members. And — if family members give the OK — veterans who die at Trinity will receive a flag tribute, their families will receive a red, white and blue tote bag along with a challenge coin and special prayer card, and staff members will stand at attention in the hallways as the body is removed.

Nguyen was the driving force behind the program, which Schelley Brooks, executive director of the Jefferson County Veterans Service Commission, said is something very special.

“To have such a program to celebrate veterans in a non-VA facility is amazing,” explained Brooks, herself an Air Force veteran.

“When Khoa brought this up as a way to honor those who served, it was an easy yes from me,” said Matt Grimshaw, Trinity’s president and chief executive officer, who remembered his father, who has served with the Army Air Corps in the Philippines during World War II.

The program is an important gesture of appreciation for those who served.

“On behalf of the church, I say to all veterans, thank you for your service, thank you for offering your lives for our freedom and protection and for the preservation of our families,” said Bishop Jeffrey Monforton of the Diocese of Steubenville, who added that his father served in the Army.

More than a simple roll-out of a new program the afternoon offered a way to remember the men and women who have served in the armed forces, which was not lost on Nguyen.

“All of you who are present here have come to honor our veterans,” he said. “May the Lord in his goodness bless you for your generosity and kindness.”

¯ On Wednesday, those who attended the Investor-to-Investor Showcase presented by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce had the chance to get a look at the renovated St. Florian Event Center and to sample offerings from Undo’s Family Restaurants, which is now the facility’s exclusive caterer.

Nick Sparachane of Undo’s and Rob Herrington of Wintersville Fire and Rescue said they were excited about the remodeling that’s been done, from the kitchen to an expanded stage and an improved sound system, adding they have a few more additions to make at the hall.

Ensuring that our veterans are honored and remembered — in life and in death — and having the opportunity to see a familiar venue take on a fresh look — both events offered reminders about the positive things happening around us.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and first vice chair of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.)