The world needs more Melanies, simple as that.

Our community lost a great member from Blowing Rock last week. Her name was Miss Melanie Miller. Melanie was one of the most positive people I have ever met and she touched so many people during her life. Melanie had a loving mother, father, extended family and a church family. Her second family was Watauga Opportunities, Inc. (WOI) where she worked hard for many years.

But she played hard too! I remember a cruise that I was lucky enough to go on with her while I worked at WOI. I saw for the first time how fiercely independent she was, enjoying each activity with a zest for life that was hard to match.

Melanie was also one of the hardest workers I have ever met and each payday she was more excited than anyone to show off her paycheck to everybody she worked with. Of course it was her family that she wanted to show the most, beaming with pride each time.

I can’t say enough about the love and support her parents gave her and I am so sad for their loss. Melanie overcame a lot in her life, braving medical procedures, surgeries and hospital stays. But she never gave up. She hated to miss work or the Appalcart, which made it possible for her to get to work each day until her health made it more difficult.

She had a routine she loved and people in her life and community that loved and supported her. Melanie was an inspiration to the people who knew her and today as I reflect on her life, I feel privileged to have known her. In a world that is more challenging all the time, I have decided to be more like Melanie Miller and enjoy all the little things that we tend to take for granted.

I hope to smile at everyone I pass and when I accomplish something, no matter the size, I plan to share that with others. Melanie may have been born differently-abled, but she overcame all of her challenges to be the best person she could be, a person who could light up a room with her smile. Who else can say that?

So, please join me and try to be more like Melanie every day we have on this Earth, never giving up and never taking anything for granted. Thanks Melanie for making such an impact on my life.

Christie Lupton


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