The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 15, 2014

Readers' Forum 1-15 | Cleansing our souls through forgiveness

JOHNSTOWN — I first proposed marking New Year’s Day as a nationally celebrated day of forgiveness in 1997. An act of Congress could encourage Americans to pause and reflect about the benefits of casting off the burdens of the past in order to make a fresh start on the future of a new year.

Considering how polarized Americans have become since the ’90s, forgiveness offers a reset button to overlook past offenses and build on the nation’s historical consensus of our moral and constitutional duties to our fellow Americans.

Forgiveness offers an opportunity to liberate oneself from the baggage of past adverse memories that so often enslave the conscience that dwells on the pain of past offenses. Forgiveness does more for the forgiver than the offenders who have long forgotten these experiences.

The prayer of our Lord calls for our forgiveness as a condition of his forgiving us for offending him. It is a crucial step toward the restoration of the body and soul to health and social renewal.

The power of personal and divine forgiveness has been scientifically documented to have a profound effect on the overall health of the body, mind and spirit, and in some cases, miraculous cures of chronic, debilitating diseases such as cancer.

Forgiveness is a powerful alternative to new year’s resolutions that usually fail.

Marking New Year’s Day as a national day of forgiveness could lead to a new birth of personal freedom that would unleash our energies to create a new future.

Dr. Bill Choby


Regarding ambulance, not what it appears

I am writing in response to “Unprofessional behavior,” a Readers’ Forum letter from Clark Woodley of Northern Cambria.

I have been an emergency medical technician for the past five years; I currently serve with two emergency services that routinely are called into each other’s service area to take calls if the first service is out of emergency vehicles.

Usually these calls go out as an emergency, and they are treated as such –  meaning that the ambulance will travel with its lights on and siren blowing.

It also is routine that we are cancelled by the home service while we are on our way to these calls. At that time, our ambulance is placed back into service, and we are relieved from answering that call. This means that all lights and sirens are ceased as soon as that cancellation is confirmed.

I am sure that Woodley did not see that ambulance “just turning off its lights” in a convenience store’s parking lot.

At this time, it is perfectly acceptable for the crew to stop at a store in their coverage area to get fuel or food, should they need it.

Don’t jump the gun. If you know nothing about emergency services, ask the crew on the unit, visit an ambulance station or, if permissible, participate in a ride-along.

Don’t throw the people who may be there to save your life one day under the bus.

Megan D. Ochenrider

Emergency Medical Technician

Nanty Glo

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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