Monthly Archives: August 2009

Courage Defined in the Face of a Child

How do you define courage?

Some define it by one’s ability to stand up to insurmountable odds like an American Patriot facing a charge of the British Army. Others may define it by the quiet determination of a toddler as she stands at the edge of the diving board for the very first time. Courage can be personified in standing up to a superior for what’s right, and is aptly illustrated by a stranger rushing into a burning house to rescue someone inside.

Courage comes in large Costco-sized crates and can also fit neatly into a pocket. It is both colorful and colorless, tasty and bitter, blunt and sharp.

And it is represented anew in the sweet face of a child.

The story of 9-year-old Isabelle Smith of Gig Harbor in the current issue of Gig Harbor Life personifies courage in every sense of the word.

Most everyone faces issues at some time in their lives that leave scars either real or emotional, but few of us receive them at such a young age and for most of us, we can hide or mask life’s “wounds” from the people around us. But Isabelle has been given a route through life few could endure — and yet she does so with a grace and style — and with the innocent smile of a child.

Her parents, M.K. and Ted Smith, have long ago learned to endure and survive the questions, stares and often rude and ignorant comments that come their child’s way, and they have taught Isabelle to do the same.

Even beyond the scale of impropriety from the public at large, Isabelle has had to endure numerous surgical procedures to battle the rare affliction she was born with, sebaceous nevus — bringing into sharp focus just how courageous this small child truly is.

I am in awe of people like Isabelle and the courage they routinely display every day of their lives. She demonstrates a strength of character I find seriously lacking in many people, and I find it both humbling and uplifting to read of her life and the courage she displays.

Gig Harbor Life Going Weekly in September

It’s heady times for the dedicated staff of Gig Harbor Life. What started out as a bi-weekly publication in June 2008 has grown steadily over the past year in both audience and size. With this growth comes the next step in the ever-evolving world of community news publishing: Beginning Sept. 18, residents of Gig Harbor peninsula will begin receiving their free copy of Gig Harbor Life each and every week.

Before making the decision to go weekly, we looked long and hard at the idea of Gig Harbor having two weekly newspapers. The residents of Gig Harbor have been served for years by a very dependable and quality weekly publication. But in looking at the differences we offer our readers and advertisers to the choices given them in the past, we realized we were comparing apples to oranges.

Gig Harbor Life has been and will remain a free publication, direct-mailed to households on the peninsula — including Fox Island — and we remain committed to bring our readers content they won’t find anywhere else: stories about their friends and neighbors, businesses and activities that make Gig Harbor a unique and special place we all call home.

Gig Harbor Life remains committed to giving businesses both large, but especially small, an opportunity to reach customers old and new with reasonable rates that won’t strain a tight budget. Given the current economic climate, we understand that businesses can ill afford to spend their hard-earned dollars on advertising that will only reach a small percentage of their target audience. With our 18,000-plus circulation, business owners can rest assured they are reaching the widest possible audience across the peninsula and know their advertising dollars are being used wisely.

Though our news staff is small, we feel we know Gig Harbor and its residents intimately and are uniquely suited to bring you quality news and information about your community each week. With editor Scott Turner, advertising transition lead Tim Lengel, paginator September Hyde and myself (managing editor) we bring a combined 65 years of journalism experience to the pages of Gig Harbor Life, with 20 of those years being served right here in Gig Harbor.

And nine contributing freelance writers and columnists bring an additional 25 years of experience writing about the people and happenings in and around Gig Harbor.

But we don’t stop there. We welcome and encourage reader participation. The fully interactive companion Web site at allows readers to post comments on stories, as well as photos and even write blogs unique to Gig Harbor that are hosted on the Web site. We seek out story and photo ideas and welcome any and all suggestions on how we can better serve our readership both in print and online.

Speaking of the Web, readers can often find stories online well before the print publication, along with Web-only items designed to heighten the reader’s experience that print simply cannot deliver.

Going to a weekly publication will open new avenues to serve you, including the addition of an editorial page where we welcome a healthy and ongoing community discourse of the events and activities that have an impact on our daily lives in Gig Harbor.

As I said: heady times. But we know the staff of Gig Harbor Life is not only up to the task, they all are looking forward to having twice the opportunity to serve you that they had before. As always, we welcome, encourage and look forward to your comments and suggestions. You can reach editor Scott Turner at (253) 514-3107 or by e-mail at and Tim Lengel at (360) 731-7373 or by e-mail at Reach September at and me at

We remain thankful for your warm and inviting welcome to be a part of your lives and we look forward to serving you now and well into the future.

Ric Hallock is managing editor of Gig Harbor Life and lives with his wife, two sons, one cat and countless wild rabbits just outside the north end city limits of Gig Harbor.