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Good Samaritan helped Otis find his way back home

(c)2013 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL

Lydia Shelton wears her Cincinnati marathon medal for completing the
26-plus-mile Flying Pig last year in Ohio. Her husband, Larry "Yogi"
Shelton, has taken up running, too. They visited the Plain Talk recently
to talk about the sport and how it has helped their family.
Published: 3:58 PM, 02/08/2013
 

Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

With daytime temperatures in the mid-50s about our hometown it is easy to believe we could be outside planting peas on Valentine's Day, as was the way of our parents and theirs too.

At the risk of repeating myself, and so what, I repeat myself. Did I tell you about Della McNabb's missing pet dog? The story came to me through her daughter, Cocke County Clerk Janice Butler. Otis is a Newport Animal Shelter dog whose photo appeared with other pets up for adoption. When Della saw the photo in the Plain Talk she said, "He just jumped out at me." I met the little fellow when she and another daughter, Jenny Gray, were breaking green beans at Della's home last summer. Later that summer, the Jack Russell-mix disappeared and had wandered over to Douglas Lake. Somehow Otis got a cut the length of his back, when he was found by a Good Samaritan who took the dog to the animal shelter. Because he had an embedded microchip placed by the animal shelter, they were able to contact the owner, and Otis is back home where the cookin' is mighty fine. County Transportation Supervisor Jimmy McNabb helped his mother out by going to pick up the wayward Otis. Della explained that she got Otis about four years ago because "the squirrels were taking over." Otis put a stop to that.

 

Cancer only slowed him down

 

Last week we began talking with Larry "Yogi" and Lydia Shelton about their passion for running and how the sport is helping Yogi recover from early 2012 colon cancer surgery.

As I mentioned, Yogi has always been a worker and cancer did not slow him down for long. We will talk more about this soon. Workers from the Newline Furniture plant might recall him as a young man, and then he joined Berkline in Morristown for 19 years where he handled steam boiler operations. When the plant shutdown, he was able to join ConAgra in Newport. "For me, the Berkline closing was good. I got a better job and less driving." He works in Van Camp bean processing; loves the work and appreciates his co-workers and the ConAgra company. Because both Lydia and Yogi live in Northport they are a short jog to work.

It is true that Lydia has been running for more years than Yogi, and I did not ask who is the fastest, as not to provoke an argument. What seems to have motivated him was a cancer diagnoses in March 2012. Yogi had some stomach ailments that caused him to get a colonoscopy at Newport Medical Center by Dr. Thomas Bolling. I am a big fan of this surgeon having been invited into the operating room years ago to watch a gallbladder extraction he performed. "He is awesome," said Yogi. Fortunately, the baseball-size tumor was a non-aggressive form of colon cancer and required no chemotherapy after surgery and thanks to the professional staff at Newport Medical Center. By September, Yogi started running with Lydia and the kids: Amber, 21, a senior at East Tennessee State University, and Paul, a coach and teacher. Given muscle soreness and injuries often suffered by runners, it's a good thing that Amber is studying to be a physical therapist and plans to graduate December 2013 from the Quillen School of Medicine.

 

Always good to seek therapy

 

Speaking of physical therapy, I had to return for more back attention after coughing so much during the recent bout of viruses I pulled muscles. I am in the good hands of Dr. Megan Stinson, who told me she is expecting her second child in June. Also working with me again, is Jenny Zmich, and as you know her father and Plain Talk friend Lenny Zmich died just days ago of pancreatic cancer. At Brown Funeral Home where friends and family gathered Jan. 27, many kind, funny, loving, and true words were spoken by reverends Rich Lloyd, Mike Hensley, Edwin Franks, and also Lenny's close friends William "Bill" Shults and Jim Cole Overholt.

So Yogi is free of cancer and becoming an avid runner himself putting in four miles at a clip three times per week at age 59. He has been inspired by the Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church program, "Run for God." Yogi ran his first five kilometer in December in Newport and another in Knoxville January 1, Calhoun's 5K. It was an easy race taking about 33 minutes and he felt good even though an 84-year-old runner beat Yogi by five minutes. Yogi's running causes him to drink more water and Gatorade and keeps him hungrier but weight gain has not been a problem. He also likes the support and comfort when the family runs together, including Paul's wife, Sarah.

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