New Castle News


October 4, 2013

Photos, Story: Wherry honored with Salute to Courage award



Elaine shed some tears last night and it was an emotional evening for the entire family.

Ater he learned he was selected as this year’s recipient, Jim said, “I told them there are others more deserving.”

Despite some “down days,” though, he didn’t give up and that is the essence of courage.

His wife acknowledged that her husband is humble but also displays resilience.

“He doesn’t do the ‘oh poor me routine’ or whine and cry,” Elaine said, adding that both have a sense of humor and it goes a long way in some situations.

Cheerful with a playful, frequent chuckle, Jim admits there are times he was discouraged but finally concluded, “I’ll live with this as best as I can.”

He was nominated for the award by his sons and granddaughters, Alyson and Rachel.

The Salute to Courage award is given annually to those who have demonstrated great courage in recovery from an accident, injury or illness, and in living with a disability or through an act of heroism.

“One might expect Jim to be bitter for the things he has lost,” Lynise Massella, YMCA event planner, said. “On the contrary, he laughs, loves, dreams and continues to inspire his family and community. He is living proof that you can’t keep a good man down.”


Jim concedes that if it weren’t for Elaine, “I’d be in skilled nursing care.”

He also credits both sons for their support and acknowledged them while addressing his attentive audience.

“After eight years of not doing much, I know how important family has been.”

Jeff described his father as a strong man and very likable guy who never worried about himself as much as he did others.

“Kids and family came first. We grew up taking responsibility beyond ourselves and learned from him that life is about helping others and becoming good community citizens.”

Michael noted that his father is a role model and demonstrated how to be a good husband and father, and be active in the church and community.

Although strokes are not uncommon, it requires a lot of courage to learn to adapt to the circumstances, Jeff said, adding his dad has learned to live life to the fullest.

“This was a major life change for both my parents,” Michael added. “It was difficult but they adjusted, and made peace with what they can, and not can’t do.”

The honor helps to provide hope and incentive to others in similar situations, he said.

And for others facing adversity, Jim advised, “Face up to your condition and plug ahead as best you can.”


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