As I walked along Wildcat Boulevard the other morning I was thinking about people I have met or know in the Neosho area who have national or international notoriety. How well do we know our own neighbors?

As I walked along Wildcat Boulevard the other morning I was thinking about people I have met or know in the Neosho area who have national or international notoriety. How well do we know our own neighbors?
For several years we had an internationally know evangelist living southwest of Neosho. His two youngest children were in my English class at Neosho High School.
He was the first nationally televised evangelist. He flew to New York and preached on television every Sunday. I recall watching him when I was a little kid, little knowing I would personally know him later in life.
This man also was indirectly responsible for the “equal sides” rule on the radio and television. If one side gets the time to present their side of an issue, the opposite view should have equal time.
Recently a young man told me that his mother is from the Marshall Island where historians are currently trying to find Amelia Earhart’s remains. The last I read, the historians had brought in cadaver dogs that specialize in finding bodies.
Amelia Earhart was lost in 1937, eighty years ago. All my life I have read about the search to learn what really happened to her.
The young man tells that all his life he had heard family tales about Amelia Earhart and the Japanese occupation of the Marshall Islands in World War II.
He also said that his mother still owns land on this Marshall Island. Wouldn’t it be something if Amelia Earhart’s remains were found on this lady’s land?
Of course, nearly everyone in Neosho realizes that the famous painter Thomas Hart Benton grew up here. He became famous for his murals such as the one in the Missouri State Capitol Building and the Harry S. Truman Library in Kansas City.
As a teenager, Thomas Hart Benton liked to hang around the fish hatchery. Isn’t it cool that people still like to hang around there?
Perhaps the most famous person who had direct contact with Neosho was George Washington Carver. To think a man this brilliant began his formal education here in a little one room school house.
Today we can walk the same paths and wet our hands in the same spring that George Washington Carver did as a youngster.
In our community today we have people many people who worked on space rockets in Rocketdyne. Another Neosho man worked for NASA.
A Neosho graduate was one of the first doctors to do heart surgery without opening the chest cavity. One other doctor is an expert on shoulder problems and reconstruction.
Sadly, sometimes I have learned in their obituary that a Neosho person did something that touched the world. How many of us really know our neighbors?
Take a walk, remember the old saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is more true with people than books, use those signal lights, watch for pedestrians, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.  
 


Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.