The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

MAY  2004

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







The Tortoise
& The Hare

by Toneeke Henderson

Remember that childhood story. How the carefree turtle took his time to cross the paths with care, while that silly old rabbit fled through life breathless with nose in the air.

Life is like that for a lot of people. There are those who think that life is life and whatever happens, happens. Then are those who speed through life so fast that they never know where their life went.

There is also another kind of people, those who love life enough to share.

For those readers who have followed my stories, know how much value I place on every second of life, I try to make all of these stories inspiring. Sometimes I tell it like it is and put a twist of humor or sentiment to make you laugh and cry. I do this because I care, because I love life and know the importance of a smile or a tear, the silence of a whisper and the voice of a miracle.

The miracle that I am about to share with you was shown to the whole world through the wonderment of satellite TV. I don't normally watch TV, for my

Toneeke Henderson

time is spent living what I want to do. But this particular evening I was lounging in my husbands chair listening to the Discovery channel since that is what he had it turned to.

As I listened they told of two traumatic ordeals which could only have  been titled a miracle. I chose to speak here about only one for it would take twice the amount of space I am allowed to share.

The one in particular touched my heart in so many ways that I had to share a part of his story.

A young Phoenix, Arizona police officer had been on duty. He was in his police cruiser, at a red light, when a taxi cab who's driver had lost consciousness, furiously out of control plunged into him from the rear. The police cruiser literally exploded engulfing it in flames. Then one of the  gentleman partaking in the telling of this story stated the words used as they called in for rescue - "we have a  962 with fire, Officer Burning Alive".

I was now definitely glued to the TV because I needed to know what happened. One Officer on the show stated that his fellow officers face was literally cooked off, like it melted. When they showed the photos I gasped and my heart wanted to cry. It had burned his upper body beyond belief. This burned Officer's name is Jason Schechterle.

As the story went on it told of his will to survive and the painstaking tasks of skin grafting and surgeries to come. His wife and children would also endure this long process with him. There were many surgeries to make him whole again.  Jason was eventually able to go home and return to the hospital when it was necessary to alter another part of his skin.

They showed the progressive photos and he began to smile again. But you see, Jason did not have any facial features left. They made him some prosthetics to make him feel comfortable in public. They made his ears, reconstructed his mouth and even made him a nose. You could begin to see some of his characteristics coming to form as he wore them. They stretched his skin to help repair the scared tissue and allow him to feel more free to move his neck and head.

Jason and his wife were blessed once more since this  traumatic event began by the news of a new baby. As the story went on, Jason had decided to go back to work as a Phoenix Police Officer. 

Jason said to the interviewer he rarely wears his prosthetic features as he and his family are comfortable with out them, and you know what by the time the featured show was ending, I was too.

The segment was ending with Jason and his family together with their new born baby. The light in their eyes was enough to shine to Heaven and back many times over.

You know the feeling, yeah, like life couldn't be any better than the moment at hand and because this article was important to me, I researched the Phoenix Police Department online to find a way to contact Officer Schechterle. I did this and was transferred to a couple of departments each time explaining who I was and why I wanted to contact Jason. Without further ado they gave me his direct line. When I called Jason's number and when he said hello, all I could think of was his voice was that of a miracle speaking to me, a writer for a small news paper in southeast Tennessee.

We chatted a couple of minutes and he gave me his website which has more information about him and his effort to inform the public. 

Part of his advocacy is  public awareness of the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors and the fires that exist with those incidents. His public speaking has helped and informed many. Thank you Jason for taking the time to talk to me as well.

One of the reasons I chose Jason's story is because so many people are out there getting plastic surgery to enhance or change their bodies to fit societies needs instead of their own.  If God wanted all of us to be chesty swimsuit models or fine tuned to defy our age, don't you think he would have done that from the beginning. I have watched many lives fall and self esteem deplete because of bad surgeries. The end results weren't exactly the cosmetic sculpture they thought it would be and did not get them that pot of gold they were searching for, leaving them feeling lifeless or in despair.

You wonder how I associate this article with that of the Tortoise and the Hare. It is very simple.

If you try to hard to get to the end you never win. Take life and enjoy what you have, for the shell that you carry is as nurturing as your soul. Be happy that you have this chance in this lifetime to share what is  within your soul, for that is what emanates outwardly,  not your body's shell.

I must sum this one up before I get rambling on again so here it goes ....

Love is beyond the body. It is in the soul. The soul beacons outward an illuminating glow. It is because of this glow that one understands themselves, loves themselves and offers that love yet again to another.

Imitating exactly what the world sees. The old saying of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"- well doesn't your own eye count as well. 

Light like an arrow finds each crevice to shine through, no matter how tight the space light finds it's way.  Love like light is breath taking, it's all in how you chose to perceive it.

Be who you are, accept what you have, and what you have been given, for the very essence of your existence exists for another as well. Be their light, beam with joy so they may see your true beauty as well.