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Letters to the Editors

Former sheriff smiled with his heart

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 26, 2001

Re: Youth ranch booster, ex-Pinellas sheriff, dies, story, Sept. 14.

I was disappointed with the coverage your newspaper carried on the death of former Sheriff Donald S. Genung. Sheriff Genung exemplified law enforcement in Pinellas County for 30 years, 17 of them as sheriff.

There was no coverage showing the hundreds of people who came to honor him at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. I read of the great tribute given to former Largo Mayor Thom Feaster and was saddened to realize the same courtesy was not given to Sheriff Genung.

The service was beautiful. Sheriff Genung's love for family, life, friends and children was evident from the statements made by Pinellas County Sheriff Everett Rice; by Harry Weaver, retired president of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches; and by Fred Teumac, representing the family.

Sheriff Genung was a man who generated love and compassion, and it was realized in all who met him. He smiled with his heart as well as his face. His sense of humor was always present as he shared his newest jokes with you.

Sheriff Genung was a giving man who never drew attention to himself, always giving credit to others for accomplishments made. I was fortunate enough to know and love this wonderful man and hopefully others will remember him as I do.

Goodbye, my friend. I cherish my memories with you. I loved you. You are the greatest man I ever knew.
-- Claudia Patterson, Largo

Reconsider Christmas Toy Shop decision

Re: Agency voids Toy Shop role, Neighborhood Times, Aug. 29.

The recent denial of recipient names to the Christmas Toy Shop of St. Petersburg by the Department of Children and Families so close to Christmas raises the specter of something more than a few scarce complaints.

The reported number of complaints is so small compared with the thousands of new and well-refurbished used toys given away that it is extremely puzzling.

The volunteers of the Toy Shop are sincere and dedicated. They stand ready, willing and able to correct any problems with substandard toys. We assume that all complaints were honest and legitimate, although they were seldom submitted directly to Toy Shop personnel.

DCF should have approached the Board of Toy Shop Volunteers with these concerns in an effort to solve any problems first. The sudden severing of relations at this time without sufficient warning or discussion is inexcusable.

This is a sincere appeal for this all-volunteer, non-profit organization to have this decision reversed.

Those of us who know, work and support the Christmas Toy Shop hope to continue giving.
-- Lawrence A. Fisher, St. Petersburg

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