Where can I tell my brother's story?

Question: Something has recently touched me very deeply and I want to inquire. My brother, born and raised in Spokane, a 1984 graduate of East Valley High School, is leaving for Iraq tomorrow. He is a staff sargeant and will be heading up his squad; a group with an average age of probably 21. He will miss his 20-year high school reunion this year (he missed his 10-year reunion as he was deployed to Honduras in 1994). He has served time in Desert Storm, Somalia, as well as Honduras, Korea and Cuba. He is a family man with a daughter, two sons and a granddaughter (all at the age of 38!). I would love to write, or have written, some kind of feature on him. He is amazing and if anyone is going to go to Iraq, lead a group of young men and women successfully, with confidence, great leadership and a fearless, courageous demeanor, it is him. Is this something you could look into? If not, maybe a "letter to the editor" would have to suffice. I am just so proud of him. -- Jill Surby, Spokane

Answer 1: I can understand why you are proud of your brother. As editorial page editor, I have no role in deciding whether to write an article about someone in the community. However, I can respond to your inquiry regarding a letter to the editor. Our letters page is intended to be a forum where readers can talk about issues that are important in our community. Certainly the war in Iraq is such an issue. Ordinarily, however, we would expect a letter to convey a message that goes beyond an expression of pride in a loved one. Honorable as that sentiment is, it's not really the purpose for which that public forum is designed. If you choose to submit a letter, therefore, I would recommend that you discuss the situation not just in terms of your his relationship to you, but also his relationship to the community and the nation, as a citizen. Letters should be no longer than 200 words and should be submitted to editor@spokesman.com. Be sure to include your name and a daytime telephone number where a member of our staff can contact you for verification. -- Doug Floyd, editorial page editor

Answer 2: I appreciate your heartfelt tribute to your brother. We've heard from many families in the region who have loved ones in Iraq. We will continue to cover developments over there, and look for stories to tell of local families who've been touched by the conflict. -- Carla Savalli, city editor

Useful links
About Steve Smith
About Gary Graham
About Ken Sands
About Doug Floyd
About Carla Savalli