Sending clippings of kindness

By: 
Hannah Gross

Betty Sample was invited to be the speaker at the 2018 Newcastle High School graduation ceremony, where she spoke to the graduating class about her memories of them since childhood, bringing smiles and laughter. (NLJ file photo)

Hannah Gross

NLJ Correspondent

 

From giving small gifts to friends or a hug to those who need it, many people in the community will tell you that Bette Sample is one of the kindest people they’ve ever known. 

One “gift” Sample is well-known for is newspaper clippings. If she sees someone she knows appear in an article or photo in the paper, she will cut it out and send it to that person. Sample even buys extra newspapers for this purpose, according to Kim Dean, circulation manager for the News Letter Journal.

Paige Liggett, a senior at Newcastle High School, said she has received newspaper cutouts from Sample for as long as she can remember, and she finds Sample’s thoughtfulness to be touching. 

“I’m always super excited,” said Liggett.

Jeri Tapp, owner of Treasured Florals, is one of Sample’s good friends and has received many newspaper clippings with pictures or stories of her grandchildren in it. Sample sometimes writes short, sweet notes on the photos she sends, Tapp said. 

“She’s awesome! She’s the sweetest little lady,” said Liggett, adding that she believes it’s the little things in life like this that people remember.

Both Tapp and Liggett acknowledged that are amazed by Sample’s ability to always remember people by name.

 According to Tapp, Sample is very generous, giving cards to people and spending “individual one-on-one time” with them.

However, when someone gives something to her, Sample doesn’t think she deserves it, said Tapp. She gave Sample a wreath for Christmas, and Tapp said Sample was very grateful and showed it to several other people. 

Tapp’s sister, Judie Wimberly, said Sample always has a smile on her face. 

“She just makes it a happy place,” Wimberly said. 

Although Sample has a strong love for all people, she especially loves children, according to quite a few people. Celo Dickey, executive secretary for Weston County School District No. 1, said Sample taught at the Newcastle Elementary School from 1976 to 1996, teaching one year in Newcastle Middle School from 1980 to 1981 before going back to the elementary school. Sample was a principal at Kitty Moats School in Osage from 1996 to 1998, in addition to being the principal in Gertrude Burns later on. Even though she no longer teaches in Newcastle, Sample still serves as a substitute and reads to the students, Tapp said.

John Riesland, a school trustee, worked with Sample when she was a principal. He said Sample was hard to describe but he emphasized what a wonderful person she is, as did Tapp and Liggett and Wimberly. 

“People like her are rare,” Riesland said. 

Riesland said that Sample has helped him through difficult times in life, more than he thinks she realizes, and said “she’s more than a friend.”

“She’ll help you accomplish anything,” Riesland said. 

One memorable story Riesland told about Sample’s gift to board members at a meeting when the administrators were giving their reports. Sample had brought in homemade stress balls made out of balloons and flour for people. Riesland said he was sitting there squeezing his stress ball while Sample gave her report, when it broke and “exploded.” Riesland recalled that through it all, Sample never missed a beat and continued giving her report. 

Riesland said the newspaper isn’t big enough to fit all the stories that could be told about Sample. 

“The community’s lucky to have her,” said Riesland, who added that he doesn’t think Sample “knows a stranger.”

Sample shows that it’s not hard to take a little time to be kind, and according to people who know her, they’ve felt inspired to be more like her. Wimberly and Riesland noted that the world needs more people like her. 

“The world would be better,” Wimberly said. 

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