Following studying Teri Carter’s op-ed about her friendship with Ragan Phillips, I’m compelled to chime in about yet another essential high quality of Ragan’s: His generous spirit.
I fulfilled Ragan this drop, 6 months soon after he experienced died, when a hand-addressed envelope found its way to my desk.
Amid long hours pushed by great require, these envelopes generally make me smile, figuring out there is a neighborhood together with us. They normally come with a observe of encouragement and a several dollars or a check out tucked inside of.
But when I opened this envelope, I pinched myself. In the center of the COVID crisis, proper when we most required it, a person I had by no means achieved sent us a donation significant adequate to pretty much assistance an attorney’s wage for an entire year. My head raced imagining of the options. It could signify 100 + added shut instances and countless hrs of authorized guidance. A hundred additional individuals and their family members who can satisfy their primary requirements for food stuff, shelter, money, personal security from all kinds of abuse, and balance. I could see the present and its electricity rippling out.
Possibly mainly because it around the holidays, Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” will come to intellect. Ragan, of system, is the opposite of Ebenezer Scrooge. He is a person so generous and committed to accomplishing equality and helping the weak that he sent his spirit to us to continue on the struggle for justice.
On the eve of AppalReD Lawful Aid’s fiftieth anniversary, I feel like the just one in a stocking cap, hunkered at my desk, visited by the ghosts of AppalReD Lawful Aid’s past, present, and future. Except there is nothing at all terrifying about any of them.
AppalReD Lawful Aid remains grounded in our record of preventing for miners’ and their widows’ rewards. Our current for the duration of this weird time is powerful as we use engineering to observe poverty law and attain into isolated pockets of Appalachia to meet battling folks’ primary wants. Our only lamentation is that we simply cannot provide all people who desires it (240,000 people in our location qualify for lawful guidance) and we will have to make rough decisions day-to-day. Although that specter looms, Ragan’s generous spirit will make the foreseeable future truly feel even brighter. He reminded me through a period of social distancing and isolation of the electrical power of the human spirit and neighborhood.
Ragan’s generosity endures, conjures up, and phone calls us all to deliver joy, kindness, and a assisting hand into the entire world. It is for this cause we launched the AppalReD Legal Assist Legacy society. His spirit will stroll beside us for a long time to come and for that we are without end grateful. It would seem fair to enable Ragan have the previous term: “Kindness is impressive. . .and that this is what makes our modern society work . . . I want to carry that ‘joy’ and my motivation to appreciate into my upcoming incarnation.”
Robert Johns is the executive director of AppalReD Authorized Help in Prestonsburg.