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Originally published: 2012-12-20 09:14:07
Last modified: 2012-12-20 09:14:07

Our View: Not how much you love, but how much you are loved

The best of our community is centered on the people who live here, and while the death of every individual is a loss to our community as a whole, some deaths echo more loudly for the great number of lives that had been touched by the deceased.

The death Monday of Leigh Cooper Wallace was an unexpected blow to many of us. A dedicated teacher, coach and athlete who was inducted into the Watauga Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, Wallace was also an inspiration to a generation following her survival of a kidnapping that occurred when she was a student attending Appalachian State University.
“Live life to the fullest,” she said during an interview in 2011. Not many are the individuals like Wallace who practiced so fully what they believed.

A second loss reverberated throughout Watauga County with the news that James Owen Tolbert died Friday. This former Blowing Rock chief of police lived a life of service from which many of us directly benefited. He prepared for his 24 years with the Blowing Rock Police Department by serving first in the U.S. Air Force, and through those years he achieved something that many law enforcement officers strive a full career to earn: to be known as a friend.

Today, our community is a bit poorer for missing a beloved coach and loyal officer, but we are all richer for the memories and markers they leave behind.