Princeton Times


April 4, 2014

Toler is the heart of Mercer County

PRINCETON — I really wish I could talk to Tammie Toler right now.

I am having the most difficult time of my life coming up with the right things to say as a way of offering my support following her stroke last Saturday. She would, of course, have the perfect way for me to get started on this column and probably a few tweeks along the way to make it even better.

I want to write about her taking a chance on a punk kid with very little knowledge of journalism, how newspapers work, or AP style and helping him to at least appear somewhat compontent at his job.

But that would be selfish.

I should be writing about the community’s response to Tammie’s medical issues. At times, it seems like the entire community of Mercer County is concerned about one person. And that truly deserves praise.

It also shows how much of an impact Tammie has had and will continue to have in Mercer County.  

I went to the Service Personnel Banquet for Mercer County Schools on Tuesday. After the customary greetings, the conversation immediately changed to Tammie’s status. It seemed like Tammie had a friend in every school and building in Mercer County Tuesday night.

People have been dropping by and calling our office left and right, including the former Times office manager, several freelance reporters, local business leaders, and community activists. Also, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph has pledged its support until Tammie can come back.

I’ve been to other places and again, the conversation makes its way back to Tammie’s status, even at a car accident Tuesday afternoon. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Thursday’s candlelight vigil in Tammie’s honor, a community effort if there ever was one.

Also, even other local media stations are starting to get the idea of exactly how big Tammie’s impact is in Mercer County.  

I’ll share a couple of quick stories from this week before signing off.

 First, when she gets better, there’s going to be one piece of news that’s going to make Tammie very, very happy.

She’s always been concerned about our Facebook site and how many people we’re reaching with our posts. A post about the aforementioned candlelight vigil has set a new record for our site.

Tammie would certainly be enjoying that.

Second, I’d like to offer a great big thank you to everyone that’s expressed support for us here at the Times office and that has been praying for Tammie and her family.

That truly makes this area one of the best places to live.

Keep up the prayers and thoughts and before long Tammie will be back covering stories and trying to make Mercer County an even better place to live in.

Good night and well wishes.

- Matt Christian is a Princeton Times reporter. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MattVChristian.


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