The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 12, 2013

Readers' Forum 6-12 | Family's strength in adversity an inspiration

Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — On June 1, my boyfriend Paul Joel “PJ” Taylor was killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident. I was broken in more ways than anyone could ever comprehend, until I turned to his family, the Taylors.

As I spent this past week with them, I noticed something deeper and stronger that I never noticed before. I witnessed the most inspiring faith I’ve ever seen. I never realized how truly special this bond they shared really was. Sherri, Paul, Maggie and Katie stood by their son’s and brother’s casket with a smile because they had the faith to do so. How incredible.

They laughed more than they cried and reminded me where PJ is – heaven. They had to put their faith to the test and their faith has grown. They are the strongest and most beautiful family on this earth and I truly believe that.

PJ always told me he was never scared of dying because of his faith, and the Taylors have shown me that’s all it takes.

Paul, PJ’s dad, gave me more strength than I think he realizes. The amount of faith this guy holds inside of him has inspired me to be more like him. He will always be the greatest guy I know. He taught me to live life to the fullest and become the best person I can possibly be because PJ wouldn’t expect anything less.

This family has taught me something so incredibly deep. This family is an inspiration.

Easton Tomak


Failure to protect students will be costly

I am ashamed by recent statements made on behalf of my alma mater, Bishop McCort High School.

I am also baffled by those who protest attempts by the board to hold accountable those entrusted with the safety of children.

How often have we heard over the past few years, “This person is a pillar in our community, therefore, he/she could not have known or could not have done anything to prevent the sexual assault of a child”?

We must reverse this thinking. We should say: “If this person knew and did nothing, or did not know out of some dereliction, they cannot remain a pillar of our community.”

In McCort’s case, we do not have all the facts.

We do not know how capable adults, responsible for the safety of students, did not know that children who were receiving “conditioning” were routinely allegedly  assaulted.

We do not know why intelligent adults failed to question the wisdom of an organizational system, if claims are true, in which an athletic trainer treating students was not under direct supervision by the athletic director.

In a shameful admonition to the community that ends with a fundraising request, the board suggests “we may never know.”

I can only hope that the survivors are sure that we know one fact: The school and diocese will be forced to assume significant restorative financial responsibility for failing to keep its students safe.

Eileen Whyte Springer


Trustees’ actions arrogant, outrageous

The article in The Tribune-Democrat from the Bishop McCort board of trustees was outrageous and obnoxious. According to the article, facts that the board knows may never be revealed to the public.

Students, parents, teachers, alumni and the community in general should accept that they “may never know that which it does not know, and begin the healing process.” Not because we know what’s going on, but because the board said so.

Apparently, only the board is intelligent enough to know what is going on and to make decisions for the school. How arrogant.

And to say that people are lashing out at members of the board because they deny that the actions of Brother Stephen Baker had occurred is ridiculous. People are lashing out at the board because of its handling of the situation.

It’s also nice that the trustees informed us that the board has personally committed over $900,000 to the school’s capital campaign and scholarship funds. More arrogance.

I guess that means that those of us who can’t afford to give accordingly do not need to know more about the board’s internal investigation. And even though we are in the dark about the decisions being made, we should not withhold support.

I support the students and teachers of Bishop McCort, but the board of trustees should be embarrassed by its article.

Ken Kopco


Many accept love but reject message

I am writing this in response to Rachel Allen’s article on June 5, “A narrow-minded explanation of Bible.” To all who would read it and claim, as she does, to “cast her lot with the one who lived among the misfits healing, feeding and loving,” it is important that you truly understand the life and message of the person for whom you cast your lot.

In John 3:16, Jesus states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

His love for you is immeasurable and undeniable.

It is also true that Jesus made himself the friend of publicans and sinners. But his message and mission did not stop there. Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost,” Luke 19:10. He was not simply seeking to befriend sinners but to save them from their sin.

According to Matthew 4:17, his message was, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In Luke 13:5 Jesus states, “but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

If Jesus were living among men today and preaching this message of repentance to sinners (including those practicing a homosexual lifestyle), he would be rejected and labeled a bigot by many. Multitudes of misfits gathered to be healed, fed and loved, but joined with those who cried, “crucify him” – just as they do today.

While many are willing to receive his love, few are willing to accept his message.

Rick Jones


Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.