When Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy called the other day to suggest an article about an effort by law enforcement from around the region to help a 10-year-old Whitehall boy who has cancer, I expected to see a few police officers and family members as the child got a tour of the building.
I pulled in the parking lot of the Sheriff's Office on Monday to a parking lot packed with police vehicles from as far away as Albany County.
Wheelchair-bound John Hoague-Rivette was brought out by his father to look over the police vehicles that had been assembled, and behind him streamed dozens and dozens of police officers, schoolmates, friends and others who had heard about the effort organized by the Sheriff's Office. State Police, local police, sheriff's offices and many others were on hand. The Sheriff's Office rolled out the proverbial red carpet.
It was an amazing turnout by people who didn't know John, but were moved as they learned about his battle, and wanted to show support.
As reporters clamored around him, and with the surgery that will hopefully save his life just hours away, he didn't waver as he talked about what he faced.
Even the hardest and most calloused officers and media members were fighting back tears. This type of thing shouldn't happen to a 10-year-old boy who three or so months ago was running around a basketball court with his buddies.
In the 24 hours since the event, I have heard more stories about John from the people who know him, telling how he has bravely carried on despite rapidly worsening symptoms, and has been worried more about how his loved ones were handling it than worried about himself.
Sheriff Murphy rightly said that John was an inspiration to us all.
NewsChannel 13's Mark Mulholland offered John's family help through the foundation created in his late wife Kelly's memory, Kelly's Angels, which provides assistance to families who are battling life-threatening illnesses. Earlier this morning, a representative of a New York City charity who read our Post-Star article reached out to get some help to John and his family.
Hopefully we will hear later today that John's surgery went well, and he is on the road to recovery.
He's got a lot of new fans pulling and praying for him.
-- Don Lehman