August 30, 2003
A good man has passed away
To the editor:
A man passed away on a recent Saturday who I have known for as long as I can remember. He was a steel detailer, and as far as detailers go, he was truly brilliant. He never went to college to achieve his brilliance, he worked for it on his own. I first knew him when I was a child and he was working for my grandfather at Bates Steel Company and for the past 20 years, I have worked in his shadow at Slay Steel Inc.
He could see buildings and the application of steel to buildings better in his mind than most people could see on paper or even reality. And then he could put it on paper so that it could be built or fabricated. He did this five days a week from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. and till lunch on Saturdays. He did this without ever complaining. And he did this in the sake of a debilitating tumor that was taken off of his neck some 30 years ago.
Over the past 20 years the complications had taken their toll in his body, mainly his speech, the use of his legs and for anyone who ever met him, the position of his neck leaning forward to the point that his chin nearly touched his chest. But he always fought hard and pressed on.
He provided for his family and he provided for his job. He did so without ever asking for any help, any welfare or any kind of disability. And he never complained about the hand that he had been dealt in life. He never wanted sorrow or pity.
I'm asked sometimes why during the course of conversation I may have a negative attitude toward undeserving people in this world living off of the government and I tell them that its because I've been raised in the shadow of James Butts.
I'm truly going to miss James, but especially when riding around Meridian and throughout the Southeast, from the home that I live in to the hospital that he died in.
I'll be reminded of him in the buildings that he detailed steel for and we fabricated.
A lot of people may have seen James as a short, physically disabled man, but to me, James Butts was head and shoulders above most anyone that I have ever known.
Teacher appreciates first-hand look at The Meridian Star
To the editor:
I would like to express my appreciation for the opportunity to observe your business team at work. The employees at The Meridian Star are team members in every sense of the definition.
It is rare to hear employees so praising of his/her job position and the establishment for which they work.
Everyone was so pleasant and cordially took the time to explain their tasks to me.
I am especially impressed how your staff professionals exhibited great human concern for the people who were affected during the recent tragedy at Lockheed-Martin. It was an interesting time to observe as the presses were stopped for new headlines.
I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with my students. It is my hope that they will become the cooperative team professionals that I met on your staff.
Editor's note: Ms. McDill, an English teacher at West Lauderdale High School, spent a week at The Meridian Star as part of a Mississippi State University program that puts classroom teachers in business environments to study and observe.