HIS TOUGHEST BATTLE

The following article is about a member of our community and highlights the role of the Ordinariate in fulling Christ’s prayer that His Church may be united.

Former New Castle Mayor Jim Small has incurable cancerxxx-1_Page_1

From the New Castle Courier-Times October 29, 2014 (by Donna Cronk)

HIS TOUGHEST BATTLE

Former New Castle Mayor Jim Small has incurable cancer.

He was diagnosed one year ago with a particularly aggressive Stage 4, metastasized prostate cancer. It has spread to his hips, spine and a rib, yet Jim says he is not in pain.

 

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1 Jim, who served as mayor from 2008-11, and as city-court judge before that, has kept the diagnosis quiet, except for close family, friends and religious leaders.

But now, Jim is ready for the public to know and he has a very specific reason why: He wants to “pay it forward” and let all Vietnam veterans to know that they may have diseases caused by exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide widely used at the time. He encourages all Vietnam vets to have regular PSA tests for prostate cancer.

Jim is certain that his cancer came from Agent Orange exposure. As such, he qualifies as 100 percent disabled and is compensated for the service-related disease. He encourages phone calls and emails inquiries about the topic and he is happy to speak to social or service organizations about the disease and Agent Orange.

At 74, Jim says that anyone who set foot in Vietnam was exposed to Agent Orange and thus, do not have to prove it. Jim himself lived several hundred yards from the chemical’s mixing facility. While prostate cancer is normally slow-growing, he says Vietnam veterans are susceptible to a very aggressive form. He is being treated in New Castle and his doctor is David Hall. He says he is “thrilled” with the quality of service he is receiving.

While his cancer is incurable, Jim says it can be held off by hormone injections every six months. After that, chemo is an option. He said the normal average five-year survival rate is 28 percent but for Vietnam vets, and the more aggressive form he has, “… we just don’t know.”

Jim plans to keep working with veterans and encourage not only their testing but for all men to be tested according to recommendations. He also plans to continue consultant work with D’Arcinoff Group, a company which makes clean-energy fuel.

Military service

Born in Shelbyville, Jim graduated from Culver Summer Naval School in 1957, New Castle High School in 1958 and Hanover College in 1962. That year, he was commissioned at U.S. Naval Officers Candidate School in Rhode Island and in 1966, graduated from Defense Language Institute in California. From 1962-72, Jim was stationed throughout the U.S., in the Philippines and Germany.

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From 1966-68 in the Philippines, he was head of various communications intelligence detachments in the Vietnam Theater of Operations. He received three Air Medals and the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” while with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron-1 Detachment, Da Nang. He participated in 68 aerial missions north of the DMZ. He earned many additional service awards including participation in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Much of what he did was top-secret intelligence work. Even wife Jacky didn’t know the details.

Jim remains proud of his service. But he says his highest accomplishment was finding Jacky. The two will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Feb. 13. His second highest achievement was serving as mayor of his hometown after retiring here.

Home again

From 1972-95, Jim was a research engineer with the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute in Annapolis, Md. After retiring there, he and Jacky spent nine years as professional gardeners where they maintained a 17-acre estate.

They decided to retire to New Castle about a decade ago where the cost of living was much more affordable and where there were many friends in place. Their plans included building their dream house. The couple thoroughly enjoys living in the resulting Williamsburg-styled home and they plan to stay there as long as possible. “We don’t plan to leave New Castle,” Jim says. Jacky says their goal is to “just enjoy” life together.

Jim is honored to have served as a Republican mayor and says many Democrats supported him. He is most proud of keeping the city afloat in difficult financial times and leaving the new mayor with a balanced budget, among other political achievements.

Acceptance

Jim says while he was mad after the diagnosis, he came to accept it. And both Smalls agree that their faith has played a role in that acceptance. Jim mentions his Anglican heritage and the Smalls attend St. Anne Roman Catholic Church where he is a member of the choir and lectionary reader. He is grateful for prayers said for him by church leaders.

Says Jacky of her faith, “It’s kept me going for one thing. Maybe I was angry at first too but I know that everything has a purpose.” She says that while the couple had a close relationship to begin with, the diagnosis has “made us so much closer.”

Jim says that he is not afraid to die and credits his faith for the reason why.

Active mind

Jacky says of her husband, “his mind never stops, which is good. The wheels are always turning.”

A recent personal project is combining the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John into one document, cutting and pasting and removing the verse numbers for flow. He hopes to share copies of his project at some point with his family, which includes son James M. of Annapolis; daughter Julie K. Wright of Millersville, Md., and four grandchildren. Small has two brothers: Robert H. of Annapolis, and George M. of Summerville, S.C.

The couple also laugh a lot and are what Small calls “strategic” about paring down and getting affairs in order. Jim wants to tell New Castle men to not be hard on their wives when they complain of hot flashes. He says he now knows they are real from his own experience.

But  most of all, his emphasis right now is in sharing with others what he is learning about Agent Orange, prostate cancer and other health issues related to being Vietnam veterans. He welcomes emails on those topics to jim1966small@gmail.com or calls to 765-591-6369.

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