Stanley Edward Mills.Every time Ilene thinks of him, she smiles and giggles. Some men can steal a girl's heart early. Stanley was one of those men.It happened when she was in the fourth grade at Whittier Elementary School. Stanley introduced himself at a roller-skating party.“The first thing I noticed was he was so bowlegged,” Ilene, now 59, recalled, “But boy, could he skate … and he was just a good person.”The only thing that came close to Stanley's love for Ilene was the thought of becoming a soldier. When Uncle Sam showed up one day with an invitation to travel overseas, Stanley said sign me up. He was off to Southeast Asia and a place called Vietnam. Ilene didn't like it, but Stanley promised he would come home.She held him at his word.On Aug. 30, 1974, Ilene L. Pettigrew became Mrs. Stanley Mills. And as Stanley promised, they had the family of Ilene's dreams — three boys, two girls, 17 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a dog named “Boss.”“When Stanley told you he was going to do something, you knew that someway, somehow, or sometime, it would happen. The only promise he never kept was to get me on an airplane, and he was working on that. He was talking about Vegas,” Ilene said.Stanley simply ran out of time. He died Feb. 10 at the age of 62.A month or so later something strange happened. His daughter, Travica, received a phone call from the credit union, telling her an associate wanted to speak with her.“I wasn't sure what they wanted.” Travica said. “When I got there, one of the girls, Lori, explained to me that her father was a deceased Vietnam veteran. She told my dad about this really neat program in Washington that shared the stories of Vietnam vets. My dad made her promise that if anything happened to him, that she would tell us about this program.”It turns out that after building The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund constructed the Education Center at The Wall. The Center is the place on the National Mall where the stories and sacrifices of Vietnam veterans are told.In June, Stanley Mills' story will become part of the Education Center at the Wall. Both Ilene and Travica will be there for the induction.“I can feel my dad right now,” said Travica, 28, who, like Stanley, served in the military.As for Ilene, you would think she hit the jackpot in Vegas. She knows that she will be having one more special moment with Stanley in a few weeks.“I will be on that airplane. ... I'm taking my airplane ride,” she said.Yes, someway, somehow, Stanley always kept his promises. ROSES AND THORNS: A busy week in the garden.Rose: One good deed is leading to another. When Lynn and Barb Thomas, of Harrod, reached the pay window at the McDonald's drive-thru on North Cable Road, they were told a person in the car ahead of them paid for their order. Touched by the kindness, the Thomas couple plan to do the same thing for someone else.Rose: Friends of Paul Eckert may not recognize him today. The music teacher at Quest Academy promised students that he would let them shave his head and goatee if they showed good behavior throughout the school year. The kids lived up to the expectations, Friday was the last day of school, and you could say Eckert has a new summer look.Rose: “This is how it is supposed to work,” said Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey about the 260 tips from the community, 13 court orders, and four search warrants that led to the arrests of three people in a Mendon robbery. The thugs used duct tape to bind a 47-year-old woman and her 79-year-old father, threatening to kill the elderly man if the two didn't tell them where they kept their money.Rose: To Jim Thiedt, of Elida, and Sondra Dreitzler, of Cridersville. Thiedt will have his idea published Wednesday in “Pluggers,” while Dreitzler's idea was published May 22.Rose: Not only do they deliver great food at fundraisers throughout the year, but the local Italian club, CIAO (Charitable Italian American Organization), gave away $15,000 worth of scholarships last week.Thorn: Darrrell “Skip” Boedicker is back in jail after he failed a court-ordered drug screen last week, testing positive for marijuana. The disgraced former head of the Parent Teacher Organization at Heritage Elementary in Lima is already facing two felony charges of gross sexual imposition involving a minor.Thorn: A new statewide law went into effect Tuesday ending the “vicious” label for pit bulls. Just weeks before that, two incidents in the Lima region saw a pit bull kill a 3-day-old baby in Beaverdam, and in Elida, police officers had to shoot two pit bulls they said charged them during a drug raid.PARTING SHOT: “The fishing's great, the boating is great, the sunsets are gorgeous. Come on out and try us again. The lake is open and ready.” – Milt Miller, manager of the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Committee.Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. To suggest a rose or thorn, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.