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Douglas Hervey

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02/19/16 07:33 PM #1    

Sue Neilson (Thurman)

I doubt many of us really knew Doug.  I know I didn't, but he had a profound influence on my life.  When we were in elementary school, our teacher asked us to write an essay about ourselves, which she posted on the bulletin board for all to read.  As I stood reading Doug's, with tears welling in my eyes, I vowed I would be a kinder person.  Doug wrote that he had given up on trying to be friends with boys.  They were always teasing him and saying cruel things.  He said he tried to be kind to girls, because they were generally nicer.  One day I was walking home from Highland High with a group of friends, and Doug was walking ahead of us, by himself, wearing his ROTC uniform.  A car load of older boys pulled alongside him, a couple jumped out, taunting him, and throwing his books down an embankment. I found myself running toward him, screaming at the boys to leave him alone.  They looked at me, and as a final shot, shoved Doug down the hill, before speeding away.  I helped Doug pick up his books and papers. I found his glasses, shattered, of course.  I helped him up the embankment and walked with him to his home.  He was bleeding and crying, and I'm sure embarrassed.  But I hope he always knew I was his friend.  I didn't know Doug had passed away until our last reunion.  His death has haunted me.  I hope he found some happiness in his short life.  But I think of him often, and try to remind myself to be kind. Sue Neilson Thurman

02/19/16 08:15 PM #2    

Marsha Draper (Fryer)

Sue, you are a true friend.  I think many knew Doug was a little bit different, but he never really did anything to hurt anyone, that I knew of.  I too tried to be kind to him, because I knew he didn't have very many close friends.  Interesting now, looking back, I think I would have tried even harder to be yet a much better friend.  RIP, Doug...

02/20/16 02:35 AM #3    

Sandra McCann (Poulsen)

Wow! It looks like Doug spent his adult life serving and volunteering to help others, in spite of being taunted; and then, he endured his battle with disease at such a young age. May we all help our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren understand the value of ALL people, and inspire them to show kindness, respect and warmth to those around them. Sue, thanks to you for, yet again, being a good example to us! Sandi

02/20/16 10:04 AM #4    

Laurel Parker (Rohlfing)

What a horrifying event you witnessed, Sue. How fortunate it that you were there for Doug when he needed you. I'm glad we're making a better try at exposing and eradicating bullying now , but it's always around in one form or another. I remember when we were in girls'  gym at Hillside some of the girls were throwing shoes at Sylvia Lloyd. So sad. These disabled people have enough on their plates without peer harassment. We truly need to put ourselves in their shoes. I know firsthand because I have a son and grandson with serious disabilities. 

02/20/16 11:20 AM #5    

Richard (Rick) Clayton

Such a good point Laurel.  I too have a grandson who is disabled, and I worry much more about the affects of bullying and teasing than I do about the disabilities themselves.  If just given the right opportunities, these individuals can "soar".  And often a special ability is discovered that is just amazing.

02/20/16 01:51 PM #6    

Richard L. (Rick) Pyper

I have spent many, many years regretting the way I and others in our "group" behaved around Doug.  We never resorted to physical violence--what a bunch of cowards to treat him that way--but all injuries are not necessarily physical.  Over the last 10-15 years I'd tried unsuccessfully to find out where he was and what he was doing.  During 9 1/2  of the last 10 years I had been tasked with the assignment to serve as an Early Morning Seminary teacher in our LDS congregation in Wetumpka, Alabama (the only one in a community of 15,000).  I have used Doug's circumstances often in teaching moments, describing how much regret I carry with me every day because I did not reach out to him, and I certainly could have;  but I used my continous feelings of regret  to teach about how NOT to treat others because they might be different.  Living so far away (1900 miles) from the center of Mormon influence and concentration of membership we all have been the objects of some derision, prejudice and even persecution (not much of that).  My six children were nearly always the only Latter-day Saints in their class and school.  I lost a partnership in a law firm because of a leadership calling I received (and accepted). When I added my name to this website one of the first things I did was to look up Doug's name.  I was very disappointed to learn of his death, although he might view it differently.  In looking at his obituary it was evident that he was willing to use what skills he possessed to help and serve others.  What a magnificent accomplishment by him!!!. Sue, I applaud you for your committment to decency and only wish I had learned that lesson during my sojourn at Highland.  Nevertheless, I thought you might like to know that at least in Central Alabama (of all places) Doug Hervey has not lived constantly in the shadows because the nearly 100 high school teenagers that  I met with each school-day morning, during a span of 9 1/2 years, were introduced in a positive way to Doug Hervey who became the focal point of a vital learning experience. RLP

02/20/16 02:28 PM #7    

Sandra McCann (Poulsen)

Beautiful story, Rick! As Doug now enjoys a far better place than we're experiencing, he knows that his life was not wasted.  There, he reflects on those he served while here; and I bet he knows all about people like you, too, who learned from your experiences with him and used those experiences in a positive way to bless and educate others. I'm sure your concerns have been relayed and your current activity applauded by Doug on the other side.    (Hey, and I know all about that early-morning and home-study seminary, too! I had the opportunity to teach a class of 27 lively teens when we lived in North Carolina.  And, of course, there were all those years in Virginia getting up at 4;45 a.m. to get the house straight, dress for work, drive "my own kids" to their 6 a.m. seminary class, wait outside for them in the heat or cold, and then drop them off at school on my way to work. After surviving the final seminary years with my youngest -- in my 50s, no less -- I swore I'd never get up early again; and I've been pretty true to my word on thatl)

02/20/16 04:18 PM #8    

Laurel Parker (Rohlfing)

Sweet insights, Rick. I don't even remember Doug, but he must have had a heart of gold if anyone looked past his problems. 

02/23/16 08:00 PM #9    

Sue Neilson (Thurman)

Thanks for your memories of Doug.  I, too, have used his story when teaching teens and children in the LDS church.  I erroneously thought his life would have passed unnoticed.  I'm glad others thought of him.  He's probably had more of an impact on a lot of us, than he or we would have ever imagined.  Looking back, I was pretty much an idiot through my younger years.  I wish now I had spent more time getting to know others, rather than worrying about unimportant things.  I've been impressed by reading our classmates bios and thoughts.  We had a class of outstanding individuals, who'e done great things with their lives.  I wish we had another 50 years to reconnect.  Sue

02/24/16 08:41 PM #10    

Richard L. (Rick) Pyper

Sue, I couldn't have said it better.  How did you climb into my mind or read my own thoughts?  I have to ask because I have been thinking the same way since reconnecting with old classmates on this website.  We all had immature moments and usually gravitated to and traveled in small, secure cliques.  I still recognize so many classmates by their names or pictures, but I don't remember a lot of association  with most of them outside the classroom and wish I had reached out more.  Somehow, with all that was going on at Highland in our own, little, private worlds we lost a great opportunity to really get to know all but a few.  If the effects of aging were not becoming so burdensome, I too would like another 50 years to get better acquainted with our classmates.  I would be a better person for it.

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