Letters published Feb. 4, 2018

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Tester comes through for local veteran

A lender and a Realtor brought a heart-wrenching story to the attention of the Northwest Montana Association of Realtors (NMAR) about their client who recently purchased a home west of Kalispell and could not retain the existing internet service that the previous owner used.

Before the sale of home had closed, she had contacted the internet service provider (ISP) and was promised that the existing service would be continued in her name, but when she moved in, the internet had been shut down and despite numerous attempts to work with the ISP, services simply were not going to be restored. This was devastating as not only is she working from home for the Veterans Administration, she is also married to a disabled veteran and she had received a veterans loan to purchase the home!

Attempts to use alternative internet sources failed for various reasons, and because internet was critical for her to keep her job, her only option was to sell the home she had just purchased and move. Because veterans-loan programs work off of no money down, it typically requires a homeowner to live in the home for about three years or they are “upside down,” meaning that the loan is worth more than the actual home. Once the three-year mark passes, things level out and become viable again. So to sell the home so quickly after closing would have meant that our gal would have lost a great deal of money!

NMAR felt that assistance from Sen. Tester might be the only way to resolve the issue. Emails and phone calls made to his office were responded to quickly by both local and D.C. staff. Updates to the situation were made almost daily and within a week’s time, a technician from the original ISP arrived at her doorstep and full internet services were restored! Thank you! Our client can keep her job and her home! This is just one of many examples NMAR can share about Sen. Tester’s willingness to work hard on behalf of our large veteran population and to get internet/broadband services to our rural communities across Montana. And this is not the only example of our senior senator going to bat for Realtors; in the last few years he has helped de-tangle a complex banking issue, resolved a floodplain dispute and was successful in getting more VA-approved appraisers for this area. We are grateful for Sen. Tester’s support and his expert staff in Northwest Montana. Thank you! —Erica Wirtala, Kalispell, Public Affairs Director, Northwest Montana Association of Realtors

A life saved, and a plea for alternatives

The recent anti-abortion marches reminded me that I once had direct contact with the abortion issue. (I prevented an abortion,) So, I will chip in to the discussion. Many years ago I was an enlisted man stationed in Germany, (fortunately it was after WW II and the Korean War had ended). I was single and free-wheeling with no obligations, and I had significant surplus income because I was teaching classes for the United States Armed Forces Institute for much more money than my army technician’s salary.

I became acquainted with a young woman who was working as a bar-girl in a bar that catered to GI’s. At one time, I must have told her that I had surplus money, because, one evening, she told me that she was pregnant, and asked if I would pay for an abortion. It wasn’t a thinking time of my life, and I rather liked her and, without thinking about it, I said, “No,” but I would do something else. The town she was working in was some distance from her home. I told her that if she would go home to live with her mother, I would, each month, send her money equivalent to her present earnings for the period of the pregnancy and for one year after (the end of my term of service). She took me up on it and religiously wrote to me every month and sent pictures after her son was born. Unless something untoward has happened, I know there is a man in Germany who wouldn’t otherwise have been there. Mission accomplished.

Though I gave little thought to it at the time, I have thought a lot about that little incident in the many years since then, but not in the light of the negative commandments of Moses but in the light of the fulfilling and positive commandment of Jesus that we love one another. (Which, when it is followed, will, automatically, obey (fulfill) all of the commandments of Moses.)

What if we citizens used our money and energy for loving acts rather than punishing acts. What if a young woman who has found herself in a bad situation could turn to the public for the funds to give her kindness, counseling, and to provide one of the many alternatives to abortion?

Let us face the fact that despite providing hateful abortions, even Planned Parenthood, through counseling about alternatives and financial aid, has prevented many abortions than the legal minded. How much more successful preventing abortions would be and how much cheaper (if we have to mention filthy lucre) if we used the money, emotion, effort now used to try to pass laws that threaten beleaguered young women and well-meaning physicians and used those funds and efforts to offer alternatives to young women and their unborn children. How much more likely that would be to bring us all together. —Robert O’Neil, Kalispell

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