I.C. MURRELL — Simple life lessons yield big rewards

Published 12:08 am Saturday, December 7, 2019

  1. Conduct yourself well.

That’s what Autrey Betar did during his all-too-short time in the U.S. Army.

At 17, four years after the end of the Second World War, the fresh-faced high school graduate from Port Arthur knew what he wanted to do next, and that was to serve his country. He rose to the rank of corporal, meaning he served as a leader of a small Army unit, and fought in the Korean War by the time he was 18.

Finally, after 69 years, Betar will be properly honored today. Along with his Purple Heart and other honors, Betar will receive a medal for good conduct.

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I can only wonder what else he would have achieved in the years to come. His dazzling smile in uniform must be a perfect example of the way he carried himself.

  1. Work hard, have a great attitude and be on time.

If Betar’s attitude was reflected in his service, Don Narcisse is worthy of every honor he’s received as well.

From being heavily under-recruited as a Lincoln High School football player to beating cancer at age 54, Narcisse has relied on one formula he continues to cite for success: “Work hard, have a great attitude and be on time.”

Adversity challenges the mindset of many, and some fail to overcome. Others train up a mind to do what it thought couldn’t be done before.

Thriving in adversity, Narcisse is still standing as a Grey Cup champion and a model of consistency (he never played a Canadian Football League game without making a catch). Today, he’ll be celebrated in the Museum of the Gulf Coast and forever make a home in its Sports Hall of Fame.

Narcisse once asked his high school coach: “Why did you pick me to start out of more talented guys?” The answer is simple: He had a testimony to share.

  1. Wish someone Merry Christmas.

There is no excuse for overlooking our most precious resource for wisdom, our elders.

It’s one thing that a 39-year-old professional can come home from work without anyone to talk to, and that is depressing enough. At 39, much about life is still learned from lessons Betar and Narcisse practiced very well.

But some senior citizens who can’t leave their homes to find anyone with whom to interact. A myriad of reasons may exist for that, but if you know of an elderly person — or a 20-, 30- or 40-year-old — in the same proverbial boat, give the greatest gift of every Christmas. Show some love.

Call someone. Ask how his or her day is. See if he or she needs something. Or, just “Be a Santa to a Senior,” pull off a tag at a participating business and buy a gift or provide a service to someone in need.

  1. Be supportive.

We’ve survived plenty in the past three months, so there’s no time to carry on a bad attitude. If you have nothing to look forward to — or you need to do something other than celebrate one of two Port Arthur hometown heroes — do something great for others.

Support businesses and help individuals. Don’t let adversity ruin your own holiday spirit.

I.C. Murrell is the editor of The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at ic.murrell@panews.com.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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