A Tale of Two "Bobs"

By: Roger Sheppard
By: Roger Sheppard

WV Lost Two Giants This Week


West Virginia said "goodbye" to two "Bobs" this week.

One, of course, is Senator Robert Byrd, who died at the age of 93 after having served 51 years in Congress.

The comments on wtap-dot-com have run the gamut of high praise for Senator Byrd to those who questioned why a man of his power and influence could not have brought more improvement to the state than he did.

My answer to the latter folks is: one man can't do it all.

In the past few days, Byrd's moniker as the "King of Pork" has been tossed around with some note of derision and ridicule. I would like to help set the record straight.

I would venture to say that despite the efforts of Senator Byrd, West Virginia probably STILL gets a smaller amount of its federal tax dollars back per capita than any other state in the nation. We don't have major military bases or major military manufacturers like many states do.

So whatever Senator Byrd was able to funnel back to West Virginia probably pales in comparison to what other states have received. The Mountain State deserved every dollar that the Senator was able to channel back this way…and more.

Another "Bob" that the state lost this week was Bob Kelly, the managing editor of the Charleston Daily Mail newspaper, who lived in Parkersburg and passed away here last weekend.

I first got to know Bob as my City Editor when I worked at the Daily Mail nearly 30 years ago. He was a man of great writing skill, who knew how to get the best out of his young reporting staff, and encouraged those of us who wanted to be better writers.

Bob gave me lots of opportunities to write for the paper even after I left, and always made my writing better through his editing. Most people in this area did not know they had such an influential and talented newspaperman living in their midst.

Bob and Senator Byrd were probably at opposite ends of the political spectrum on many issues. But they both loved West Virginia and worked to make it better and better.

We will miss them both.

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