The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Finding the sacred in everyday life
When a hero is closer than you think
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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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By simplyfaithful
Sept. 23, 2013 5:25 p.m.

I took the call that December morning out of habit because when youre a reporter you always take the call, even if youre standing shoulder high in moving boxes.
The editor told me they had captured Saddam Hussein. Hed been found hiding in a hole. Could I come in and help cover it for the paper? Maybe find a local angle?
I have a moving truck in my driveway, I said, while the snow began to cover the streets and inch up toward the curb. I could see my brother-in-law helping my husband move furniture down the stairs. The heavy lifting had just begun.
I dont know how well it would go over if I left them here to do all the work. Call me back if you dont find someone else, I said.
No other phone call came. Another reporter worked that weekend while Brian and I unpacked in our first house.
Id find out years later, after the U.S. government declassified the information, that I had the local angle that day. While I opened boxes in Rochester, the interrogator who gathered scraps of information and then bound them together to mark a path to Saddam Hussein was flying home and home, for us, is the same place.
Army Staff Sergeant Eric Maddox and I grew up in a little town outside of Tulsa, Okla., where he played football and made good grades, even in his advanced classes. He might not admit it, but he was pretty popular. He could have used that to be mean to other kids, but he seemed to always choose kindness. He was one of the really good guys in our graduating class. And that good guy grew up to be a good man, with medals and national honors, with a book about his life and a movie in the wings.
Hes a hero, for sure. While Im still shocked that I have a friend who made international history, Im not surprised that the friend is Eric. Its easy to see how God laid a foundation for greatness in his life and how God continues to create heroes.
Look for the kid who defends the littlest and the left-out. Find the teen who calls home to get a safe ride. Watch for the young man who serves the homeless.
You might find you know heroes, too.

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