Julie McDonald Commentary: Grateful for Vaccinations and a Return to Normal Life


As we crowded into hotel elevators the past two weekends, my husband and I both expressed relief and gratitude for the coronavirus vaccinations that have allowed life to return to some semblance of normalcy.

We gathered in crowded restaurants over the Fourth of July weekend, when we visited our daughter in Pullman, and I blurted out, “I’m so glad we’re all vaccinated.”

The same thoughts flitted through my mind in Poulsbo and Bremerton last weekend when we cheered on our granddaughter from Woodland during the 8- to 10-year-old All Stars tournament.

Lewis County’s vaccination rate hovers around 35 percent compared with nearly 60 percent for the rest of the state. It’s a free country, so people can refuse the vaccine if they want. I can’t help but think of those who have passed away from coronavirus, how grateful they might have been for a vaccine to give them more protection against the disease that claimed their lives.

When anti-vaxxer writing friends post on Facebook a request for prayers for their family members sick with the coronavirus, I pray. But I can’t help thinking it didn’t need to happen.

We’re all going to die someday. That’s a fact. But we do what we can to prolong our lives. That’s one reason I quit smoking more than two decades ago. It’s why I try to walk with my friend regularly. And it’s why I obtained the vaccination as soon as it became available. I also receive the flu shot every year.

But, as I said, it’s a free country, and one that I love dearly. We stood at the games along with the players to recite the Little League pledge: “I trust in God. I love my country and will respect its laws. I will play fair and strive to win. But win or lose, I will always do my best.”

What a wonderful pledge and shining example to the values we should hold dear.


Facebook Meme

Speaking of which, a friend shared a Facebook meme that prompted me to respond. The meme showed Gwen Berry at the medal ceremony for the U.S. track and field Olympic trial, turning away from the United States flag as the national anthem played.

The meme said: “If a Black athlete peacefully protesting upsets you, but a violent insurrection at the capitol doesn’t, you might be a republican and a racist.”

“Both upset me,” I stated, the only person to respond.

The attack on the Capitol Jan. 6 infuriated me. But an Olympic athlete representing our nation but disrespecting its flag irks me too. I won’t ever buy anything promoted by Olympic athlete Gwen Berry.


Kudos to Steve Ward

During nearly three decades of working at Centralia College, Steve Ward has seen the campus morph from a post-high school campus to a university setting. In fact, he helped create that change through his role as vice president of finance and administration and the driving force behind the master plan that outlined acquisition of homes, vacation of streets and construction of college buildings.

Of course, he had help from presidents and staff members as well as city officials, but the Centralia College campus could well look different if Ward, a 1977 Centralia College graduate from Lacey, hadn’t returned to work at his alma mater after earning his accounting degree from St. Martin’s University and working at the University of Puget Sound and Northern Arizona University. In recognition of his hard work, the center of the campus has been named Ward Plaza.

Thank you, Steve, for your hard work on behalf of Centralia College, the Centralia College Foundation, and the Lewis County community. All the best as you pedal those bikes and fish those rivers in retirement.


Chehalis Port

As Port of Chehalis commissioners search for a replacement for its chief executive officer, I hope they keep in mind one of the greatest assets Randy Mueller exhibited in the position — transparency. Mueller, who began working at the port in 2014, is leaving Nov. 30 to pursue other opportunities. I wish Mueller well in his future endeavors.


Julie McDonald, a personal historian from Toledo, may be reached at memoirs@chaptersoflife.com.