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Editorial: Helping the hardware man

Monday, August 23, 2004

For years, Don Roth has been dispensing free advice along with his customers' purchases at Roth Hardware in Scott City. Just about everyone in town knows Don Roth can answer your questions and will gladly help anyone who needs it.

Roth Hardware has been a family-owned business since 1946 in the old Illmo section of town, and its customers consider Don Roth a mainstay at the store. He's been known to unlock the door after hours when customers hurry back for one last part needed on a project. And he always has a word of advice before they leave the store.

So town residents got really worried when Roth began looking ill earlier this year. Customers at the store would ask about his health, but doctors couldn't figure out what was the cause.

After scores of tests and a three-month hospital stay, doctors finally realized that Roth's illness is a complication from mumps he had as an adult.

But Scott City residents didn't really care so much about the cause for Roth's failing health as they did for the man who's been so helpful to them. So while Roth was hospitalized, the town rallied to his side. Volunteers organized church dinners and a fish fry, set up a barbecue stand and are planning another raffle. In all, the community has raised almost $9,000 to help pay for Roth's medical bills.

Scott City residents demonstrated concern, generosity and support when they offered Roth their help. Maybe it was payment for all the free help he's offered them over the years, but that seems unlikely. The community's support and concern for one of their own is what makes life in Southeast Missouri so special.

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