10/23/07 — Heartbreak: Story of Meals on Wheels volunteer’s death a tragedy

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Heartbreak: Story of Meals on Wheels volunteer’s death a tragedy

It is not hard to feel sad when you hear the story of the two Meals on Wheels volunteers who were stabbed while working at a local church to feed their community’s homebound senior citizens.

And it will never be easy to understand why anyone would walk into a church, find two defenseless older women and stab them. One of those women, Deborah Kornegay, 58, died. The other, Eve Beasley, remains in critical condition.

The sad part really is not just that this man decided to take the lives of two women who were doing good deeds for their community.

What is tragic is that it could have been anyone — just one more check on the violent crime tally for the state of North Carolina.

The fact that this happened in a church in Rocky Mount is further evidence that there is reason to be worried about how bold criminals are. Broad daylight and a church are no deterrent for those who are intent on committing crimes.

There is not much information yet on the how and why of this crime. That will come as local law enforcement officers continue their investigation.

In the meantime, a church family and community service program mourn the loss of one of their own and pray for the recovery of another.

The community has rallied to keep the Meals on Wheels effort going — and the church, even with its members’ heavy hearts — has vowed to make sure that there is a Meals on Wheels program again at Lakeside Baptist.

The lessons here are obvious. Crime really is an issue for many North Carolinians, no matter where they live or how safe they think they are.

And stiffer penalties for criminals, as well as increased vigilance in communities, are musts if we are going to make sure our back yards — and churches — remain safe.

It is too early to make a statement about the man who committed this crime. We do not know yet what made him decide to take a knife to two women in a church. But you can almost bet that drugs, mental illness or some other contributing factor were involved.

So, ways to stop drug use in our community, better ways to deal with criminally ill mental patients and the other contributing factors to crime in our communities should be something we are thinking more about today.

And while we are at it, perhaps a show of support for our own Meals on Wheels program would be in order — a check, a thank you, it doesn’t matter. An incident like this makes you realize just how valuable people who care are to a community.

What more fitting tribute could there be to a woman who did so much for others than to support the cause that was so close to her heart.

Published in Editorials on October 23, 2007 10:33 AM