To the editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to let the community know what a fine man lives in its midst. His name is Joe Dunning.

I first met him 12 years or so ago when I was athletic director at Grandview Christian School. His children attended Centerplace Restoration School on Waldo in Independence. Our school played them in sports. We were in the MoKan Conference together. He loved his kids and was their biggest cheerleader. But he also loved all the kids he came in contact with. He knew the Grandview kids and would chat with them and always had his camera ready for pictures. All the schools and kids knew Joe and loved and respected him.

I left Grandview as AD three years ago. We moved back home to Osceola, and I teach at Clinton Christian Academy now. We started sports last year, and I’m the athletic director. I brought my junior high kids up to a Centerplace tourney for basketball Jan. 9-10. There was Joe – just as wonderful as ever to these new Clinton kids he’d never met before. He had a new chair and plaque where the school has honored him. He took lots of pictures and was the same wonderful person he always is.

It’s nice to find consistently kind people in life who really care and are so encouraging. Some of you in Independence may know Joe. I’ll bet he’s the same wonderful person to his neighbors, at work, at the gas station or grocery store. He’s not a famous or fancy person who everyone knows. But if you do, you are blessed! And he will always live in the memories of the kids who have passed through his life that he’s been so kind to! Yes, a very special man lives in your midst! God bless him!