Letters to the Editor -- December 26, 2008

Jennings foundation grateful for area support

Naturally, at year end there is a reflection on the past and the future. In 2008, there was change in so many ways. The world economies, politics and environments, both physical and social. In 2009, optimism and growth is unquestionably what everyone wants to share and support.

In 2008, the Justin W. Jennings Foundation changed dramatically, solely due to the continued generosity of business and individual leaders who support the building in Bethany Beach of the Justin Jennings House for cancer victims. We received unprecedented individual donations through our charity events of the Spring Gala and Golf Tournament held at Cripple Creek Country Club.

And in a time of economic uncertainty, our community support never waivered and we were able to stay on course with our objectives. Positive change occurred in August when our offer for a property on Garfield Parkway was accepted, and we now have the location where, in the near future, Justin’s Beach House will be built.

But our single most important event that happened in 2008 was not receiving, it was giving. We received our first request to stay at Justin’s Beach House. Nessa, a 3-year-old little girl suffering from PNET (primitive neuroectodermal tumor) was invited to witness the Sea Colony Make-A-Wish Triathlon, where a team was participating to support her battle. In September, through the generosity of our community we provided the Stauffer family with a beach house to relax and enjoy the weekend.

Meeting and spending time with Nessa and her family was so inspirational. It provided us with a reality check that we are doing the right thing, that families that are dealing with cancer need a safe haven, a place to get away from the routine of treatments and to clear their mind and souls of how cancer impacts families.

In 2009, we have many events planned and we are optimistic that the community will continue to support our mission of improving the lives of families who are dealing with the emotion of cancer. Whereas we are so focused to the construction aspect, we never forget how our family dealt with Justin’s cancer, how we unified in each other, how we grew as a family during such challenging times.

Our gratitude to our community can never be stated well enough. In the grocery store, we meet an individual who has made a donation to the Justin W. Jennings Foundation. We express thanks and appreciation, but I always find myself asking, “Did I truly express my thanks? Did they know how much it means to us?”

I encounter all of the businesspeople who are members of the wonderful organization Contractors For a Cause who have been the life and soul of the Justin W. Jennings Foundation, that donate countless hours of their free time to make Justin’s Beach House a reality, and I ask myself, “Do they truly know how their efforts are going to help people in perpetuity? Do they know that their community legacy will be that they are a giver, not a taker?”

How, in one letter to the editor, can we thank everyone? We can’t, there is not enough space in the Coastal Point.

There are two types of thank you we owe the community. First, a thank you for your kindness, encouragement and moral support. There are tough times, the emotion lingers, but our community inspires us. We know that Justin’s Beach House will be a great addition to Southeastern Sussex County landscape. Secondly, a thank you for your monetary and the sweat-equity support that you have extended to us to build a house, second to none, that will improve the life of someone who is suffering.

Is there any better cause than helping others?

In sincere appreciation and thanks to one and all.

Craig & Mary Ellen Nantais and the Board of Directors
The Justin W. Jennings Foundation

DNREC keeping jobs for criminals

First a DNREC employee has their job held while serving time for vehicular homicide, then two more employees have their jobs held while they are serving time for rape and unlawful sexual conduct against a child.

Mr. Hughes feels that it is OK to keep convicted criminals on the payroll, but if these criminals killed or raped a family member of his, do you think they would still have their jobs waiting for them?

Then, to top it all off, Gov. Minner feels that there is no need to second-guess Mr. Hughes’ decision, but again, put her in the shoes of the family of the victims and we would be hearing a different story.

What makes it right for a state employee to be able to have their job held for them while they serve time, but if someone else did the same thing, they would be fired with no questions asked nor any decision-making? There are plenty of other qualified people looking for jobs who have not ruined a child’s life or killed someone, why not hire them?

There need to be changes made and, hopefully, our new governor will make those changes.

Rachel Johnson