A second chance and punishment enough

Common sense, second chances and the community in general won out Monday night.

The Madras Aquatic Center board deserves a hand for changing its stand on Bobby DeRoest. They weighed the “crime” of taking a travel reimbursement when it wasn’t earned against the amount of positive the man has brought to his job since the pool first opened, and the talent he brings to his job.

Rehiring him to a nonmanagement position, allowing him to continue as a coach (where he flat out excels), maintaining him at a lesser position and in a probationary status is a wise compromise.

We aren’t privy to all the information the board has on its employees. They shouldn’t be crushed for initially making a tough call, bowing to legal and state ethics committee advice to dismiss DeRoest, but praised for showing flexibility and rejecting the urge to be stubborn.

They aren’t so stubborn that the can’t move from their initial positions, to ma.

Hopefully DeRoest will repay those who stood so solidly in his corner by rededicating himself to becoming an even better coach, an even better swim instructor, and enhance his commitment to the pool and the community.

Whether or not pushed by the emotional crowd that testified in DeRoest’s favor Monday, the board deserves praise for taking a second look, and giving a second chance. The MAC board’s decision was made with both heart and intelligence.

Which brings us to Dr. Bud Beamer’s situation. If you’ve noticed the ton of letters to the editor, the 801 respondents to last week’s Web poll (which usually pulls less than 100), and have any ear at all, you noticed the community is — to put it mildly — upset with District Attorney Steve Leriche filing misdemeanor charges against Beamer.

The story from last year is well known. After a 24-hour shift at the hospital emergency room, Beamer took some pain-relief medication from the facility to use on his aging dog. That was against the law, and he knew it. The following Monday, he brought back the medicine, unused. It was too late. The deed had been done. The hospital dismissed him. This summer, though, he was exonerated by the state medical board. His life was upended and shaken by his misstep, but at least the state’s top medical board dismissed charges.

But then, after all the smoke cleared, the local district attorney filed misdemeanor charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance and third-degree theft.

The public is generally mystified on why the charges were filed. Leriche told the Pioneer that he alone decided to charge Bud Beamer, and didn’t elaborate.

Leriche, though, should follow the MAC board’s example and change his mind. Rescind those charges.

What happened to Bud Beamer — essentially losing his medical career after taking some medication from the hospital for his ailing dog after a 24-hour shift — is analogous to this:

Imagine yourself driving down the road in a car you love, with nearly everything precious to you packed in that car as well. You love driving it, but you have to drive all day, without rest, and after 24 hours on the road, bleary-eyed, you momentarily lose focus. You run off the road and crash. The car you love, and all those precious elements within it, are destroyed, suddenly lost forever. You’re crushed, sitting on the side of the road, head in your hands. You think you’ve endured enough for your mistake. But then someone taps you on the shoulder and hands you a speeding ticket because you were going five miles over the speed limit when you went off the road.

Is that ticket necessary?

Justice has to be fair, impartial and unprejudiced. But, it also needs to have heart, a conscience and a brain.

What the MAC did in allowing DeRoest back is good for the community. Dropping these misdemeanor charges against Dr. Beamer — who has already lost so much because of his mistake, but will never lose the love and support of so many whose lives he’s touched — would also be good for the community.




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