Dear Editor:

A month or so ago one of your more mature readers sent you an amazing contrast of life growing up in the 50s and 60s comparing then to now. I apologize for not remembering his name, but his memories and contrasts of time, respect, responsibility, maturity, and doing the right thing in all social situations was spot on.

Having grown up in the 50s and reaching the age of responsibility in the mid 60s his comparison touched me deeply.

With your indulgence, I would very much like to add to that comparison.

On Friday, October 5th of 2012 the members of the Jim Thorpe Varsity and Junior High School Cross Country teams installed a bridge over the Germantown Creek just below the third reservoir, and just above the Jim Thorpe Water Company pumping and purification station.

Through the kindness of Jim Rodgers, who donated a three foot wide by 16 foot long span, and additional material to include an eight foot approach and four foot decline which I paid for, my cross country team installed our bridge.

The pride and enjoyment my runners expressed in this team building project, while sitting in the creek in sub 50 degree temperatures, was a sight to behold. Those of us who were there will treasure the memories for our lifetimes. Exactly what youth activities should be.

On Thursday, May 2nd, Mr.. Mike Spirk, head teacher for the Jim Thorpe High School Math Department, was painting arrows and cleaning the trail in preparation for the annual Run 4 the Numbers race on the Cross Country course which was to be run on Saturday, May 4th, when he came upon five youths destroying the Cross Country bridge.

They had totally removed all the bridge planks, and were ready to lay down the upright supports, and the 16, eight, and four foot stringers. Mr. Spirk contacted Officer Eric Schrantz and reported the destruction.

Officer Schrantz responded immediately, recorded all names and addresses of the youths, contacted their parents, and contacted me. The Run 4 the Numbers on Saturday was altered significantly to insure the safety of the runners who could not safely cross the creek on the destroyed bridge.

Unfortunately the 60+ runners who supported the Jim Thorpe Math department were forced to run through parking lots around the High School twice, and an out and back course instead of enjoying the spring beauty that is a trip around our three reservoirs, a circle of Weiksners Pond, and a trip through the stunning area that is the Jim Thorpe Rod and Gun Club.

What a shame that joy and pleasure was spoiled for over 60 healthy runners, the Math Department, the school and the community by five youths.

On Saturday, May 11th., Mr. Mike Spirk, Mr. Vincent Rodgers, four of the five youths involved and I spent four hours reassembling the bridge in Germantown creek. The bridge is a thing of beauty. My hope is that it lasts forever, and that every runner who runs our course will enjoy the fact that their feet are dry for the remainder of the course.

My hope extends also to every person in Jim Thorpe who will cross our bridge on their walks around our reservoirs, those who photograph the rushing waters, those who enjoy the area on their way to their deer stands, or their favorite fishing spots along a stunningly beautiful wooded parcel of our community.

Enjoy it, and you are so very welcome for the chance to keep your feet dry.

Fifty three years ago I pitched a chestnut at a classmate between Fifth and Sixth on Center Street. That chestnut missed my classmate and went through the Eichorne store ground level window.

Instead of running away, instead of looking to blame it on another classmate, I walked into Mr. and Mrs. Eichorne's store and told them I was the youth who smashed their window. I knew if I did not do so imminently not only would my parents find out, but more importantly, I would have to live with that deception, forever. I paid for the replacement of that window.

As of Saturday, June 8, I have not seen one cent of the over $300 I spent for the material that went into the first or second Germantown Creek Jim Thorpe Cross Country Bridges.

Nor have I had one phone call or any other contact from the five youths or their parents concerning the destruction or replacement of the bridge. How sad responsibility is a thing of the past. How very sad.

I know I cannot list the five responsible youths and their parents, but I can list those responsible for the construction of the first and second bridge.

Thank you Mr.. Mike Spirk, and Mr.. Vince Rodgers for your kindness, your concern, your sense of responsibility, and your talent.

Thank you also to those young people on my Cross Country Team who suffered in really cold water assembling the first Germantown Cross Country Bridge: Nathan and Christian Fields, Jonathan Condly, Bob Taylor, Jake McGeehan, Jack and Ben Saxon, Jian Gentile, Bri Gehres, Becca Osborne, Courtney and Lindsey Capper, Anna Marie Fiducia, Terry and Robyn Loyd, and any other great kids who got their feet wet for a great cause. You are truly appreciated.

Thank GOD your parents and teacher's taught you responsibility, and you listened.

Drew Benyo, Head Cross Country Coach, Jim Thorpe Area School District

dvdrew@ptd.net