Stories celebrate good-byes and new beginnings

| January 2, 2019

Higher Hopes wrapped up its final season with a Halloween Party on Oct. 15, 2018. Pictured on horseback is Riley Reveal, who has participated in the therapeutic horseback riding program for 11 years.

COSHOCTON – This past year had a lot of ups and downs. There were new beginnings, but they came with rough good-byes and there were some changes that I’m still not quite sure how they will impact the future. I guess it’s only appropriate then that two of my favorite stories from 2018 fit that theme.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Tom and Peggy Roahrigs Higher Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center. When you volunteered out there you became like family. I never got to go as often as I wanted, but when I could I always felt welcomed. They let my daughters horseback ride on trick or treat night and even joined me a few times when I volunteered. Whenever I left there I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face.

The Roahrigs touched a lot of lives in the 20 years they ran Higher Hopes. The people with disabilities who rode there gained skills they might not have otherwise. Cherie Reveal watched her son grow socially, physically and mentally in the 11 years he attended Higher Hopes. Their family was just one of several who said good-bye to the Roahrigs at the Higher Hopes Halloween party in October 2018. It was a bittersweet evening for Tom and Peggy, but they are both ready to move on to the next chapter of their lives. Your kind and caring nature made a huge impact on my life. Enjoy retirement!

Sometimes change is good though like the one downtown business owners Linnet Lowe and Denise Guthrie created on Main Street. The ladies worked with Our Town Coshocton to host the inaugural store front decorating contest between downtown businesses.

Lowe said she and Guthrie have had a silent competition between themselves for a few years and decided to open it up to others. The winners were picked by popular vote and right before Christmas the Coshocton Antique Mall was named the first place winner and Carroll’s Men’s Shop came in second. The winner received a traveling trophy.

It was great seeing all of the decorated windows and a lot of fun working on ours here at The Beacon. We received a lot of comments on our paper mache snowman and are already thinking about ideas for next year’s contest.

Other stories that stood out for me have to do with folks from the Greatest Generation. The first was about Ann Lillibridge, a 95-year-old veteran who went on an Honor Flight in May.

Honor Flights leave John Glenn International Airport in Columbus bright and early in the morning and fly into Baltimore, Md. Once there the veterans are loaded onto busses and escorted to Washington, D.C. to see the sites. Each veteran on the trip is assigned a guardian to help them along the way. Lillibridge’s guardian was her daughter Joyce Zachrich and together they had an amazing experience.

In the story from May, Zachrich said, “She got so much joy out of being thanked for her service that day. The Honor Flight is a wonderful program and their focus really is to honor veterans and let them know their service was appreciated no matter what their job was.”

For more on the honor flight program in Columbus, visit or contact the local veteran’s service office at 740-622-2313.

My other story focusing on folks from that generation was on Neal Lillibridge. The 94-year-old World War II Veteran was still working part-time when the article was written. He figured he’s worked his whole life so why stop now?

In addition to having a strong work ethic, he also credited faith in God for helping him through life. One quote from the story about that still sticks out for me.

“I was introduced to Central Christian Church when I was 13-years-old by a little girl who I ended up marrying when I was 20. We had our tough times, but we got through them because we had church. I think any man or woman can get through their problems if they look toward Jesus Christ to help solve them.”

I am definitely going to try to take Lillibridge’s advice to heart in 2019.

Category: Opinion

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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