Erecting a fitting tribute
If you don’t regularly have the opportunity to drive down Summit Street between Russellville Middle School and Russellville High School, do yourself a favor and swing by there some sunny afternoon. As you near the crosswalk, press the brake pedal until your car comes to a crawl, whether or not there are schoolchildren in the crosswalk (of course, especially if there are).
Look at your window and take notice of the new bench that stands at the intersection near the crosswalk on the RMS side – it’s sure to bring a smile to your face or a tear to your eye, or both.
To my great misfortune, I was never very well acquainted with Wyman Pounders. My interactions with him were pretty well completely limited to county commission meetings.
But from talking with so many who knew and loved him, I feel almost as though I did know him. And I’m quite certain he’s someone I would have been happy to befriend.
I think the bench his family had created in his honor and memory is such a fitting tribute and memorial to this man who was so loved and admired. Not one person on this Earth can meet with universal approval – but it seems like Wyman came pretty close. And the engraved bench at this intersection will remind everyone who drives by of who he was and what he meant to Russellville and to Franklin County. The middle school, where he spent countless hours of his “retirement,” is the perfect place for this memorial because it ensures that not only this generation but generations to come will know the name Wyman Pounders. Maybe they’ll ask their principal or their teachers who he was. They are sure to hear all kinds of stories about the SRO who, as Principal Karen Thorn said, would do anything for anybody.
For most of us, the chances that someone will put a bench on a middle school campus in our honor after we die are slim to none. But the chances are better that we could work to be deserving of such an honor; we all have the opportunity to work to develop a good name for ourselves, just as Wyman did. I hope his legacy, and the legacy of all the great people of this community who we have loved and lost, will remind us each to live better, to reach out a hand to those in need, to give selflessly, so that when we exit this world, we might leave it a better place than we found it.
I think Wyman would like that.