Mendon, Missouri

Mendon, Missouri. Population 171. There’s really nothing here. The tiny town is located off Route 11, just south of Yellow Creek. You’re three hours west of Saint Louis, two hours east of Kansas City.

It’s quiet. No attractions. No major landmarks. Nobody famous ever lived here unless you count Vern Kennedy, right-hander for the White Sox, circa 1934.

If you’re looking for entertainment in Mendon, your main option is Busch Light. But you’ll have to drive all the way to Brunswick to find a liquor store.

“We are just country folk,” said Mendon native Carol Ann Wamsley, “and that’s what makes us a special place.”

At its heart, Mendon is a railroad town. The first iron tracks were laid in 1887. Within a decade, a town sprang up. You had a few dozen storefronts, a school, a newspaper, and a couple churches with steeply conflicting views on eternal damnation. Most of that is gone now.

Today, the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad line still passes the northwest side of the community, only now it’s the Southern Transcon Railroad.

The Amtrak Southwest Chief runs through town regularly. On summer afternoons you can see the Amtrak locomotive in the distance, racing across the prairie like a polished chromium bullet. But the train never stops here. It just keeps moving.

Until last week.

It was a Monday that will live in infamy. The Southwest Chief made an unexpected stop near Mendon, of all places.

The Chief was traveling 87 mph, bound for Chicago. There were more people aboard than there are living within Mendon’s city limits.

Up ahead a dump truck was on the tracks. The truck was obstructing the crossing of County Road 113. This was not a small truck. This was a vehicle about the size of a Sonic Drive-In.

The train never slowed.

The sound of the collision could be heard from as far away as Westville. It was the noise of two General Electric diesel locomotives and seven Superliner cars plowing into a mass of Dearborn steel. The train was derailed.

Ron Goulet was riding coach.

“…I was airborne. Everything was tumbling. People on top of people. The train rolled on its right side—the entire train, except for the front locomotive.”

Carry-on bags went everywhere. Elbows collided with craniums. Shoes crashed into jaws. Children clashed against the ceiling.

“When I climbed up and out of the train…” said Ron, “I was stunned that the entire thing was lying on its side. Not in a jumbled mass, but all laid over on the side.”

The story made national headlines, of course. Reporters from national newspapers visited. They photographed, videoed and wrote. Cable news anchors wore frowny faces and mentioned the wreck, just before cutting to commercials urging elderly viewers to reverse mortgage their livers.

But somehow, the bigger story about what happened in Mendon was lost. Somehow, you didn’t hear about Mendon’s magnificent people.

Sure, you heard about the wreck itself; the 150 injured, and the four fatalities. But you didn’t hear about how the residents of Mendon—nearly every single resident—rushed to the scene of the accident.

Throngs of ordinary townspeople arrived before first responders even knew about the crash. There were volunteers crawling out of the wallpaper.

“It was a wonderful problem to have,” said school district superintendent, Eric Hoyt, “but we probably had too many volunteers show up.”

People came from all over Chariton County, riding beat-up Silverados, ATVs, or arriving on foot. They came from Sumner, Marceline, Cunningham, Brookfield and Indian Grove.

Two Boy Scout troops dutifully helped injured victims from the wreckage. Local high-schoolers were fashioning bandages out of bandannas. Old women recited the Lord’s Prayer alongside strangers in blood-stained clothes.

There were farmers, off-duty nurses, truck drivers, soccer moms, Little League coaches and grade-schoolers. They were doling out food, first aid, bottled water and, most importantly, phone chargers.

Victims were taken to local homes, fed, bathed and bandaged. Weeping passengers were embraced by rural preachers. Passengers using wheelchairs were lifted from the rubble by young men in ropers and camouflage caps.

Local schoolbus drivers transported the wounded to hospitals. Northwestern High School staff members triaged victims in the gymnasium and fed people in the cafeteria.

One resident said that Mendon didn’t feel like a 171-person town anymore. “It was like 671 people came together.”

And the most unusual thing about all this is: None of this is unusual. At least not within the national tapestry that is The Great American Small Town.

Although we rarely hear about such acts of compassion and lovingkindness within our society, believe me, they happen. Every day. Every hour. Ordinary Americans will astound you with their goodwill. Sadly, ordinary American journalists aren’t interested in being astounded by such things.

Either way. Now you know the rest of the story.

109 comments

  1. Ed (Bear) - July 3, 2022 7:20 am

    I love how you instill healing in anyone who listens.

    Reply
    • Diana - July 5, 2022 5:00 pm

      You are a modern Paul Harvey!! Love your writings!

      Reply
  2. 🇿🇦🇿🇦Norma Den - July 3, 2022 8:45 am

    Agree with Ed. You bring a light of love, peace & joy in every column. Even when the subject is sad we feel hope. It’s amazing how only bad news travels, no sign, or very little, about the people who come to assist, even to handing out water, tea, blankets & most of all LOVE. God bless every one involved in this tragedy, praying for swift recovery from injuries & trauma, & for the lovely folk in & around Mendon

    Reply
  3. Thomas McLain - July 3, 2022 9:36 am

    Thank you sir for letting us know about the good in a tragedy. Main stream media is too busy tearing down the country!

    Reply
    • Sigmund Neumann - July 4, 2022 7:27 pm

      > Main stream media is too busy tearing down the country!

      They are “tearing down” the MSM (mainstream media): Due to their “tearing down the country” I deeply, profoundly, bitterly, hate and despise the MSM — have for 10+ years now. I don’t know what funny stuff the MSM newsies are smoking in NYC, Boston, DC, Chicago, SF, LA, etc. to fail to see their severe failing.

      Instead, from the news I want relevant, credible information presented with at least the quality of common high school term paper writing standards.

      But this blog shows the front edge of the Tsunami coming to destroy the MSM: On the Internet, a single author, without paper or ink, can do better at credible reporting than all of the MSM combined. The MSM will have to change, shrink a lot and change a lot for a lot better in a big hurry and maybe continue to exist or change too little too late and just die.

      Reply
      • Joe - July 4, 2022 10:27 pm

        If you want to understand the division in the country, look at the timing. How long have we had corporate controlled news – 100 years? How long have we had the Internet and Social Media – 25 and 15? It’s not the Internet that will save us, it’s what got us to this point. An angry divided country is more profitable to Facebook than it is to NBC. You should redirect your anger.

        Reply
  4. Carol from GA - July 3, 2022 9:41 am

    I swear Sean…you are the only person reporting good news these days! I have to mentally brace myself to read just the new’s headlines (forget actually watching the news!). I read your posts first thing in the am to start my day with something hopeful! As always…. thank you for being you.

    Reply
  5. Robert - July 3, 2022 9:51 am

    Thank you for 5hose of us who live in (or lived in in the past) we understand

    Reply
    • Christine - July 3, 2022 11:00 am

      Thank you for this account of the good people in Mendon. Small Town willing to help their fellow Americans in a time of tragedy and confusion.
      What a very important post in these times of strife we hear daily.
      God Bless the good, caring, loving people.

      Reply
  6. Te - July 3, 2022 9:57 am

    Carol nailed it. There’s little I can add except my own thanks for making the event come alive. Mendon is the heart of the American spirit– and those fools in DC think they can defeat that!!

    Reply
    • Joe - July 4, 2022 10:31 pm

      Literally no one is trying to defeat that. Stop politicizing what is not a political story.

      Reply
  7. Gloria Van Nostrand - July 3, 2022 10:49 am

    WOW! Thank you for the REST of the story. So sad it hasn’t been widely reported. It deserves to be shouted from the rooftops. These wonderful people were the hands and feet of Jesus.

    Reply
  8. Lucretia Jones - July 3, 2022 11:06 am

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for the rest of the story, Sean. We desperately need to hear “the rest of the story.”

    Reply
  9. Lucretia Jones - July 3, 2022 11:14 am

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Sean for the “rest of the story.” As a people, we desperately need to know “the rest of the story.”

    Reply
  10. Denise - July 3, 2022 11:14 am

    We live in a wonderful, caring country. Sometimes, that fact is forgotten. Thanks for reminding me

    Reply
  11. Lander - July 3, 2022 11:23 am

    Thanks, Sean. Maybe part of our problem as Americans is we don’t have something big to bring us together. We’re in each other’s faces instead of working side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder to solve some really urgent problems. There are plenty of them. But those sad faces in the media and our political leadership on both sides has us squared off against each other. We don’t need a train wreck or all the heart ache that causes, for goodness sake. But it sure seems like we need to come together on a common effort before we wreck this train we’re on. When we’re faced with really tough things we find out we’re a nation of small towns like Mendon, even if it’s as big as New York City, or Minneapolis, or Los Angelos.

    Reply
  12. Regina Vanderneut - July 3, 2022 11:23 am

    Now this is intelligent reporting! Along with my conversations with my LORD.. I read your reports every morning. Thank you for using your writing to uplift readers spirits!

    Reply
  13. Richard Baker - July 3, 2022 11:25 am

    I guess you is that journalist, Sean!

    Reply
  14. Steve McCaleb - July 3, 2022 11:34 am

    A-M-E-R-I-C-A. ‘NUFF SAID.

    Reply
    • David Britnell - July 3, 2022 1:05 pm

      YES! As broken as it seems, I love love my country! God bless the USA!

      Reply
  15. W G Hendricks - July 3, 2022 11:35 am

    Amen Brother.. small town America is the backbone of this country

    Reply
  16. Connie Allen Schneider - July 3, 2022 11:37 am

    Thank you Sean. You start my days with a smile!

    Reply
  17. Marie Monde - July 3, 2022 11:58 am

    Thanks for the real story. People helping people. 💕

    Reply
  18. Sylvia Sykes - July 3, 2022 12:15 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for reminding us of the greatness of small town America!

    Reply
  19. Ruth Mitchell - July 3, 2022 12:20 pm

    Great story to read as we celebrate the birthday of the USA. People helping people is what life is about.

    Reply
  20. Farris Jones - July 3, 2022 12:22 pm

    God bless the folks of Mendon and all the surrounding area that came to the aid of their fellow man! “Love your neighbor as yourself” Mark 13:31. Prayers for those injured and the families mourning the loss of loved ones.

    Reply
  21. Babs - July 3, 2022 12:29 pm

    We are interested and standing tune to your channel

    Reply
  22. Mike Ray - July 3, 2022 12:31 pm

    Sean, my hometown in Oklahoma is small so I don’t doubt what you wrote, but I am curious: unless you were at the scene, how do you know these things happened?

    Reply
  23. Toni Adcock - July 3, 2022 12:57 pm

    There are many stories like this…people are good and want to help. It’s nice to be reminded in times like these.

    Reply
  24. Lyn Cogswell - July 3, 2022 1:01 pm

    Sean, your gift of encouragement is an essential service to your fellow humans! Thank you for highlighting this example of the folks of Mendon, part of the backbone of our country.
    I was deeply formed by growing up in a Great Small Town of America. In our metropolis of 450 people, a tiny farming community in East central Illinois, our family home on the edge of town was nestled in between corn fields on two sides and a railroad on the third, with the front of the house facing the street.
    My earliest memories include the Christmas season that our house caught on fire while many people–including our family of eight–were visiting Santa Claus up at the firehouse as the call came in. Nobody had to ask for volunteers to help put out the flames or tend to us children while our parents focused on salvaging belongings, because the whole town immediately moved en masse to our front yard to help out in any way they could.
    We were fed and clothed and housed by our fellow townspeople until Mom found a place for us to stay while Dad and friends built our new home over the ashes of our old one.
    I believe one of the reasons I ended up finding my calling in hospital chaplaincy thousands of miles and many decades away from our rural hometown is tied to the continual, compassionate examples set by the community that helped raise me.

    Reply
  25. David Britnell - July 3, 2022 1:01 pm

    I think small town USA people have more of a sense of community in general. I can ask almost anyone in my little town of Hardy, AR for help and I would have no trouble getting it. Thanks to the people of Mendon and thank you Sean for sharing.

    Reply
  26. Tommy Neuman - July 3, 2022 1:07 pm

    Wonderful column Sean.

    Reply
  27. Bill Woodward - July 3, 2022 1:08 pm

    Thank you Sean for presenting the side of America who is united and not divided during tragedies such as this . We need more columnist like you who continue to give us hope . Thank you for all you do my friend !

    Reply
  28. Sandra Law - July 3, 2022 1:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing that story!!! Love to see people helping people, not people looting and taking advantage of someone’s misfortune!!!
    You are awesome and so is Missouri!!!!

    Reply
  29. Ann Padgett of Mobile - July 3, 2022 1:28 pm

    Thank you, Sean. Your version of this tragic and noble event that took place near and in one of our remaining small towns in our country is better by far. Your words in this essay, even with all their hyperbole descriptions, come much closer to theTruth of this dramatic episode than any news media coverage of it that I have thus far seen, heard, or read. My daddy was a railroad man. I was born in and mostly grew up in such towns. Truth matters.

    Reply
  30. Helen De Prima - July 3, 2022 1:30 pm

    I was right there in my mind; I’ve ridden the Southwest Chief several times. Truly a blessing that the derailment occurred in daylight and on level ground, immediately accessible to rescuers. Bless them all!

    Reply
  31. Dee Thompson - July 3, 2022 1:40 pm

    Beautiful. Reminds me of how the people in Gander, Newfoundland, worked together to help the folks in stranded planes on 9/11. My mother taught me people are basically good. I love how you reinforce that with nearly every column.

    Reply
  32. David - July 3, 2022 1:41 pm

    THIS is the America I know and love. God bless you for telling this story.

    Reply
  33. Dottie Coltrane - July 3, 2022 1:56 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for “the rest of the story.” Having grown up in a small town only a bit larger than Mendon, Missouri, I understand the big hearts and heroism of the people who helped strangers.

    Reply
  34. Steven Rafferty - July 3, 2022 2:05 pm

    Thanks Sean My son works for Amtrak and was on this run he’s OK but traumatized I thank the Lord for the fine citizens of Mendon and for the story you shared reflects what is so good about our America

    Reply
  35. Jocelyn - July 3, 2022 2:11 pm

    Most folks tend to do the next right thing. People help People in need and do not need media and or government to guide that notion. Good story thanks for gathering the info and writing a piece.

    Reply
  36. Roger Burkholder - July 3, 2022 2:12 pm

    Sean thank you for being a positive voice. Thank you for showing what journalism should be

    Reply
  37. artwimberley - July 3, 2022 2:20 pm

    I watch a variety of television networks so I’m not sure whose coverage I was watching but did see reports of those local citizens jumping in to help before local emergency workers arrived. It seems though worldwide that this is what normally happens. Those standing nearby begin to dig for survivors of an earthquake, tornado, bus accident or flood. It is what humans do instinctively. We help each other. We just do. Thank you for this reminder of us helping each other. We’re all in this together.

    Reply
  38. Chris Conley - July 3, 2022 2:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing “the rest of the story”.

    Reply
  39. Richard Owen - July 3, 2022 2:24 pm

    Thanks for giving us the (as Paul Harvey would say) “the rest of the story.” As someone who was a photographer for your old Walton Sun, I would have been very busy along with my wife, who was a reporter for the Sun, in documenting the efforts of the local folks to show the rest of the world. At least the Boy Scout troops got some national accolades.

    Reply
  40. Lauree - July 3, 2022 2:30 pm

    Thank you

    Reply
  41. HT - July 3, 2022 2:36 pm

    Paul Harvey is beaming. This united community action is what makes usa into USA.

    Reply
  42. Paul McCutchen - July 3, 2022 2:38 pm

    Thanks Sean, I just told my wife I was going to go turn on the TV and see how bad the reporters tell us the world is. Then I open your e-mail. After the first paragraph, I muted the TV and read you article and remembered how, what you had written, didn’t make much of the news. So yes, it is good that you did notice and report of the good in people, like you usually do.

    Reply
  43. Lynda Phillippi - July 3, 2022 3:01 pm

    💖💖💖💖💖💖

    Reply
  44. Lynda Phillippi - July 3, 2022 3:02 pm

    You have a place in my heart if you ever need an extra mom. Or grandma!

    Reply
  45. Kathy - July 3, 2022 3:15 pm

    Thank you. Not just for this article, but for all of your writing. I could leave comments on everything you write, but I refrain for your own sanity! I appreciate your point of view, your tenacity, your story. I’m thankful you never gave up on life, music, writing or love.

    Reply
  46. Susie Flick - July 3, 2022 3:25 pm

    Thank you for your words of hopefulness and goodness on this blessed Sunday.

    Reply
  47. Mary Jo McIntosh - July 3, 2022 3:51 pm

    God bless you, Sean and all the beautiful people of Mendon….God bless America. We are so blessed!

    Reply
  48. Pinny Bugaeff - July 3, 2022 4:02 pm

    S’truth brother !

    Reply
  49. James Taylor - July 3, 2022 4:07 pm

    The two BSA Scout troops were passengers on the train and got right to work doing what they are trained for – helping where needed.

    Reply
  50. Bob Wasson - July 3, 2022 4:09 pm

    Hi Sean,
    Ever been to Clio, South Carolina? Pronounced Clyoh. Small town on a short-cut to Myrtle Beach from Charlotte. Name came from ‘Stop Number Ten on the old Coast Line — CL ten — CLIO. If you are ever there, check out an old plantation house called ‘Harleanton’, bought and restored by Dr. Harley Davidson. Harley’s widow or maybe his son probably still live there.

    Reply
  51. Patricia Gibson - July 3, 2022 4:12 pm

    Thank you, Sean! Amazing that journalists don’t see or report the good😢I appreciate you keeping me on track❤️

    Reply
  52. Lee Taylor - July 3, 2022 4:19 pm

    BRAVO SEAN! Always good to find SOMETHING positive to read about!

    Reply
  53. John - July 3, 2022 4:31 pm

    Thanks for reminding us all that all is not a mess and that there is still goodness/still are good people, who look beyond demographics, politics and the hate mongers, people who just see a need and meet it.

    Reply
  54. Karen Snyder - July 3, 2022 4:45 pm

    Thanks, Sean, for sharing what matters. ❤️

    Reply
  55. Marsha Yarborough - July 3, 2022 4:49 pm

    Thank you for reporting the Real story of American compassion

    Reply
  56. Peggy M. Windham - July 3, 2022 5:33 pm

    Thanks so much for telling their story!

    Reply
  57. John Barrett - July 3, 2022 5:41 pm

    Thanks for that great article!

    Reply
  58. Patricia Harris - July 3, 2022 5:51 pm

    Thank you for recounting this. 99.999% of people will help others in an emergency. That’s what we need to focus on.

    Reply
  59. Gordon - July 3, 2022 6:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing the rest of the story. We do not get
    these heartwarming stories from the national media.

    Reply
  60. Angela - July 3, 2022 6:32 pm

    Thanks for showing us the good works of the good people who rarely make the headlines

    Reply
  61. Sandra Jones - July 3, 2022 6:34 pm

    Best story of hope for our people. Good does still exist..

    Reply
  62. MAM - July 3, 2022 7:13 pm

    That puts you right up there with Paul Harvey. He is smiling in heaven because you often tell “the rest of the story.”
    I’m not surprised to read about the locals who helped out. We had the same thing happen here when a wildfire wiped out a good portion of a neighborhood. People helped, people donated, bottom line, people CARED.

    Reply
  63. Linda Moon - July 3, 2022 7:49 pm

    My favorite tiny town is Mentone, Alabama….population 327. Thank you for the GOOD news in the midst of the wreck, injuries, and fatalities. The people showed up. And the rest of the story could’ve been spoken by Ma Joad. She’d tell it real good, too.

    Reply
  64. Jenn in GA - July 3, 2022 8:04 pm

    Paul Harvey would be proud of this.

    Reply
  65. Melanie - July 3, 2022 8:53 pm

    🇺🇸🙏🏻❤️👍🏻👏🏻 For all the good people who helped and prayed, and for those who wrote about them 👏🏻👍🏻❤️🙏🏻🇺🇸

    Reply
  66. Karen - July 3, 2022 8:54 pm

    Good people are everywhere. Thank you for sharing this with us.💖

    Reply
  67. Ann - July 3, 2022 8:55 pm

    And you are extraordinary!! Thank you

    Reply
  68. sjhl7 - July 3, 2022 9:00 pm

    God is good and so are people most of the time… especially small town people. Thank you, Sean, for bringing us the other side of the news. The good, the kind, the helpful, the loving and faithful side of the story!

    Reply
  69. Rosemary Mize - July 3, 2022 9:10 pm

    Thank you 🇺🇸

    Reply
  70. KiKi in Texas - July 3, 2022 10:25 pm

    You are our Paul Harvey and Lewis Grizzard. Your storytelling is best for us. I can see myself there.

    Reply
  71. Terry Byrne - July 4, 2022 12:31 am

    Thank you, Sean, for sharing this extraordinary side of this tragic accident. God bless the people of Mendon.

    Reply
  72. Sandi. - July 4, 2022 12:39 am

    Kudos to you for telling us ‘the rest of the story”, Sean. You find the good in everything.

    Reply
  73. John L - July 4, 2022 1:15 am

    Having grown up in L.A., I didn’t really know this face of America until I went to college in a Nebraska town, population 5500. These kinds of people lived in L.A. too, but they were harder to see.

    Reply
    • Larry Wall - July 4, 2022 4:10 am

      John L – Most of Sean’s avid and long-time readers who see that you grew up in LA assume that you are referring to Lower Alabama where a town of 5500 would be fairly large for there or Nebraska, both agricultural areas. 🙂

      Reply
  74. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - July 4, 2022 1:51 am

    ❤️

    Reply
  75. conkledavid - July 4, 2022 3:02 am

    It’s nice to read about good news . Keep it up . We all need you .

    Reply
  76. Duff richards - July 4, 2022 3:09 am

    Sad and true . Great story about good people .

    Reply
  77. K - July 4, 2022 1:50 pm

    That is beautiful.

    Reply
  78. Sheila Woodham - July 4, 2022 3:52 pm

    Thank you for writing about all the good things and good people that happen every day without recognition. I try not watch National or local news since it’s rare we hear anything positive!!!

    Reply
  79. atmclucasAaron - July 4, 2022 4:36 pm

    That was America…at least the one I grew in. Beautiful! Thank you!

    Reply
  80. Anon - July 4, 2022 5:32 pm

    This is beautiful. In my country — not far from America, if you have an accident, you’ll be robbed without compassion meanwhile you lay down injured in the pavement.

    Reply
  81. Mark Rippetoe - July 4, 2022 6:44 pm

    HIP DRAAAAYVE

    Reply
  82. Peter Blay - July 4, 2022 8:00 pm

    Great story of the “Best of America”. It is true that many folks still have a kind heart in this Great Country of Ours.

    Reply
  83. Page Leftwich - July 4, 2022 10:36 pm

    Great real-life story! Thank you.

    Reply
  84. Jay Drewery - July 4, 2022 11:06 pm

    You ruined a perfectly great story by saying, “Sadly, ordinary American journalists aren’t interested in being astounded by such things.”

    I was just getting ready to share it when the whole thing was ruined.

    Reply
  85. NancyB - July 4, 2022 11:19 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for recognizing the tremendous contributions the people in and around Mendon, Missouri, made the day of this horrific truck/train accident. There are multitudes of small towns like that dotting the countryside of our state. I would expect nothing less from any small town in Missouri.⁸ Neither was I surprised the main stream media chose not to report on the selfless actions of that small community. Their actions would not bring in the “big ratings” and did not fit the narrative the networks try to fill. My sister is an Emergency Room RN at a neighboring hospital. She was called in to work on her night off because of the “mass casualty event.” After medical care was administered, if the victims were not admitted, people in the community took care of them. They fed them, gave them shelter for the night, provided phones for calls to families, provided transportation the next day, and last but certainly not least, gave much needed emotional support for comfort and peace, and prayed with and for them when it was requested. Because most of the victims taken to her hospital spoke only Spanish, they brought in three Spanish speaking people from the community to act as translators. This same scenario was taking place in many small adjoining communities as their hospitals went into “mass casualty” protocol and their communities went into “what can we do” mode. Thank you, Sean, for giving all the first responders and community volunteers the attention they deserved.

    Reply
  86. NancyB - July 4, 2022 11:52 pm

    To Mike Ray–I can’t answer the question of where Sean got his information. I do, however, live about 90 minutes from Mendon. Very good small market TV stations reported these stories for their audiences. Small market radio reporters and newspaper reporters were there. They, of course, all covered the derailment, but they also reported on the professionalism of all the first responders working together, on the goodness of the volunteers helping the victims after the derailment, on small-town Missouri responding to a “mass casualty event.” All of those TV and radio stations stream their news. Newspapers are online as well as on paper. As I said at the beginning, I have no idea where Sean got his information. Maybe he was on a trip and was close enough to visit the crash site. But if he wasn’t there in person, there was enough local coverage streamed online so that with a little time spent in research, he could have had loads of material for one days column. He didn’t pull it out of the air. People from Mendon and surrounding areas did respond exactly as Sean reported. And that’s the reason 95% of those of us who choose to live in “fly over states” do it. Neighbors take care of neighbors. And who are our neighbors–whoever is sitting next to us at the ball game, grocery shopping at the same time we are, pumping gas while we are at the gas stations. You come to Mendon, Mike, you’ll be our neighbor too.

    Reply
  87. Rheta J Smith - July 5, 2022 12:58 am

    Thank you for your much more realistic account of happenings than those I read in another article that stereotyped inhabitants of the “isolated” rural area. My parents lived in a town near Mendon so I know the area quite well. The other article reported that housewives started frying up chicken to feed the train passengers. Fried chicken is not an emergency food! Picture this, if you can in your wildest imagination — in an emergency who would go out to the chicken pen, kill and dress a chicken, then “fry up” a chicken? Wouldn’t happen! I trust the details of your more believable write up.

    Reply
    • Rheta J Smith - July 5, 2022 5:59 pm

      I should have added — it is probable that many of the “housewives” were unavailable to fry up chicken in an emergency. Why? Because they were employed as nurses, teachers, realtors, bankers, office managers, etc., you name the profession — just like some of the men. Just like their counterparts in communities closer to cities.I have lived in several major cities and the urban uninformed never cease to amaze me.

      Reply
  88. Ruby - July 5, 2022 1:41 am

    Good job Sean! I appreciate stories like this! It boosts my faith in the American people!

    Reply
  89. Bill Johnson - July 5, 2022 2:04 am

    “Although we rarely hear about such acts of compassion and lovingkindness within our society, believe me, they happen. Every day. Every hour. Ordinary Americans will astound you with their goodwill.”

    “It was like 671 people came together.”

    Lol, this town is 76% filled with Trump supporters. I just checked the voting records. Y’all wouldn’t know what compassion and lovingkindness is if it showed up on your ballot. You don’t get brownie points for doing literally the bare minimum when other HUMANS are dying. Any normal human would have immediately gone to help the victims of such a tragedy. I think the best indicator of a person’s true morality is reflective of how they vote.

    Until the Civil Rights Act, you had ‘compassionate’ Americans in the ‘great American small town’ everywhere voting in support of segregationist policies while happily smiling to one another at Church every Sunday.

    Show unadulterated compassion and lovingkindness to the marginalized and those who don’t look like you and then you’ll get the recognition of going above and beyond.

    Reply
    • James M - July 10, 2022 5:02 pm

      No intellectual or scholarly merit…Shallow, narrow, uninformed as to historical events and unworthy of consideration…

      Reply
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  91. Nathanael - July 5, 2022 1:15 pm

    I read plenty about the people of the town volunteering to help out. Maybe you were watching the wrong news? I am on the other side of the country, I read genuinely left-wing news outlets, and they ALWAYS talk about the locals helping out whenever there’s a disaster.

    Reply
  92. Ann Tyree - July 5, 2022 4:28 pm

    Such an important message. Thank you.

    Reply
  93. Ben Jackson - July 5, 2022 8:41 pm

    Those persons in Mendon who went to help in the horrible Amtrak crash are Absolute Heroes, each and every one!!!!!

    Reply
  94. Anne Hammer - July 6, 2022 4:34 pm

    This article made my heart swell with love for humans once again. It seems we hear, read and see how ugly we have become to one another. I hear, read and see such an outpouring of caring is the perfect tonic we need.

    Reply
  95. Barbara Rhoades - July 9, 2022 12:29 pm

    What a great story! There is nothing like small town love and caring

    Reply
  96. James M - July 10, 2022 4:58 pm

    As a young man I moved to Missouri in 1982 after 6 years in the US Cavalry. Stories like this confirm that I made the right choice. Thank you Missouri !!!

    Reply
  97. jgarrison75 - July 11, 2022 9:18 pm

    what a wonderful story and a tribute to your town.

    https://fromarockyhillside.com

    Reply
  98. Karen Taghi - July 13, 2022 7:44 pm

    💝

    Reply
  99. Cynthia Jackson - July 14, 2022 4:50 am

    Wonderful reporting on a tragic event! Congratulations to the residents who behaved as the Lord our God would have them to, when he instructed through the parable of The Good Samaritan! Way to go Mendon!

    Reply
  100. Jeffrey Thomas - July 16, 2022 5:45 pm

    Thank You Sean !!!

    Reply

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