My nephew Ben, who lives near Interstate 81 in Botetourt County, noticed animals, large and small, getting killed crossing the road for water to drink. He bought a large drum for his land, and fixed it for watering the animals, hoping to save a few lives. He even put a board in the water drum for a ladder. This, from a big guy who hunts bear!

Things went well until one day he noticed a chipmunk had fallen into the drum. It was almost drowned but still swimming very slowly. Ben’s tender heart took over. He took the chipmunk by the tail and laid it on the ground. It was not moving, so he tried to save its life with CPR — not mouth-to-mouth CPR but, in his words, “stick to belly.”

He gently poked its belly, and gradually the water was expelled from its mouth. He repeated this several times before the chipmunk became conscious enough to move on its own again.

Ben didn’t know what the outcome of his actions would be, but he took the high road in a small matter. May we all learn to take the high road in life, no matter the circumstance. This world would be a better place if we did. Thank you, Ben, for one of life’s lessons.

— Ruby Leighton, a reader in Buena Vista

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