The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 21, 2014

Readers' Forum 3-21 | Embrace those with Down syndrome

JOHNSTOWN — Today is World Down Syndrome Day. It celebrates and embraces all those who are blessed with this syndrome, as the medical community labels it. Yes, I said blessed because that is how I feel.

This is no longer an “I am so sorry” type of thing. My prenatal diagnosis consisted of an option of abortion. My daughter is my world; the love I feel for her is unmeasurable. I stare into her eyes daily and think, what if I would have said yes?

What about those who do listen to this prenatal diagnosis and fear the worst? What happens to those babies? Studies say that 92 percent of women choose not to carry the baby. Send those women to me, I will tell them the other side of the story.

A wise person once told me that children pick their parents, so I got lucky. It is said that God gives special babies to special people. I’m one of those special people. I know that not a lot of people will read, but there are some who know exactly what I mean.

Take a minute to research Down syndrome. Read what it says, learn something new. The next time you see someone with this, don’t stare, don’t feel bad, don’t be scared. Say hello.

I will wake up every day, lift my daughter from her crib and give her kisses and hugs. I will thank God and Jesus Christ that I got to be her mommy.

What if I would have said yes?

Tara Robison


Funding Navy program vital to local firm

With Congress debating cuts in funding for the Navy’s aircraft carrier construction and maintenance program, representatives of Global/SFC Valve Corp. of Somerset, which provides propulsion valves, fittings and underway replenishment equipment for aircraft carriers, are traveling to Washington, D.C., to meet with the state’s members of Congress to discuss the importance of the program for their business, employees and the economic health of the region.

Global/SFC Valve will join more than 180 suppliers from around the country in urging Congress to support uninterrupted funding of the program.

Funding uncertainty around the midlife modernization – officially known as the refueling and complex overhaul – of the USS George Washington (CVN 73) and the overall size of the carrier fleet is troubling to the carrier supply chain. It provides no clear direction on how companies should prepare inventory, allocate resources and hire skilled workers.

Talking to legislators gives us the opportunity to explain how the program is important to the economy of Somerset and Cambria counties. Our company has based its business plans and economic forecasts on the current carrier construction and maintenance schedule for needed revenue. Canceling or delaying maintenance or construction would have a significant impact on our business, the economy of our community and it could mean the loss of skilled jobs.

The Navy has warned Congress that a disruption in funding for the carrier program could jeopardize the ability of highly skilled, industrial-base companies to provide specialized parts and services, potentially threatening their availability and weakening the defense industry.

Bob Kirst

President, Global/SFC Valve Corp.


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