Part 8: Look for the Helpers Series – Our young heroes
By Mary Beth Sallee
The focus of this series is to shed light on the positive actions of those who are doing their part to persevere during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout this entire ordeal, many have received recognition for their efforts in the fight against COVID-19, from health care workers to custodians and everyone in between.
Everyone is receiving their well-deserved recognition…everyone but our children.
Just like adults, our children have also had their worlds turned upside down. They may not be fighting on the front lines physically, but they are certainly feeling the effects of the pandemic. Their schools have been closed. They have spent weeks not being able to see family or give hugs. Their vacations and sports have been canceled.
Among other things, our children are having to follow rules that they have never known. They hear disturbing news about the virus and are well aware of the stresses that are overwhelming their families. All of this has sent their minds racing.
And yet, in the midst of the chaos, it is our children that wake up each day and continue forward with resilience, strength, and kindness.
Chase Atwell is one of these young heroes. At the age of 16, the Hart County High School student took the responsibility upon himself to clean headstones in local cemeteries.
“I started cleaning headstones because I felt sorry for the people with no family or the ones that no one knows about,” Chase said. “My first one was about two weeks ago.”
Thus far, Chase has cleaned approximately 30 headstones at the Munfordville Cemetery and additional headstones in a small cemetery located behind the Court House in Munfordville.
Chase stated that now is the perfect time for everyone to stay productive, learn new hobbies, and start new beginnings.
“I’ve learned many new things and have even took time to think more about what I should be doing versus what I’ve been doing,” Chase said. “The pandemic has been a great escape for me to just get away and do things that I can do by exploring a whole world there is to explore, the nature of it, and learn history of my small town.”
Nicole Atwell, Chase’s mom, said that the teenager is certainly making his family proud.
“It makes us proud that he is doing something for others and for his community,” Nicole said. “They (Chase and brother Jaxon) have found new ways to entertain themselves and have taken up new hobbies.”
According to his mom, Chase is active in his youth group at church and also Hart County Civil War Days.
“Chase has always been a child with a big heart and thought about others,” Nicole said of her son.
Chase stated that cleaning headstones is something that he wishes he could do on a daily basis.
“Cleaning headstones or just doing one small thing could change someone’s whole life,” Chase said. “My goal for the next two weeks is to have 100 stones cleaned and by the end of summer to have all old stones cleaned in our area, as well as Horse Cave Cemetery.”
To Chase and our other young heroes, we salute you: today, tomorrow, and always.
See this week’s News-Herald for more pictures!