To the editor: Normally, I tend to stay out of issues read in the newspaper, discussing them only with friends, as I am sure most do. However, in regards to the coroner's office and the three professionals who serve it, an exception must be made.

First off, the only thing political about that office is one must run for and be elected to it - nothing else - for politics are not involved at a death scene. The job is 24 hours on-call, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Death does not work 9 to 5.

You may have a death (or two) at a vehicle accident; a suicide, prisoner death, drug overdose, home death or hospital death. They all may be simultaneously and at various locations in the county, and it's a big county. Can one or more deaths happen at once? Not often, but, yes.

So with that thought in mind, I highly recommend that our county commissioners accompany the coroner's office staff on a few calls. See first-hand what this job entails. Assist at a death scene, being careful not to disturb it for legal reasons while still gathering evidence - yes, similar to CSI. Remember, you may have to go to court over this at a later date.

Pick up someone's loved one who has died violently, say blunt force trauma, in a vehicle accident. Take the deceased - be they a small child, teenager, mother, grandmother - to the hospital, evaluate their injuries and, if necessary, prep them for identification by a family member. (Here I must thank the staff at both at Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital and Sunbury Community Hospital for their unselfish support in assisting the coroner's office in performing these tasks; and their professionalism in dealing with family members at this time is exceptional.)

Accompany a police officer at 2 in the morning to someone's home to tell them a loved one has died. Or, when warranted, take the deceased individual to Lehigh Valley Hospital for a forensic autopsy to determine cause of death.

Gentlemen, I am positive that after you participate in or observe their jobs, you would realize it is not political. It is more community service, a minimal amount of funding for a vast amount of responsibility.

I know, for I had the privilege of working for Mr. Jim Kelley and in conjunction with Mr. Barry Gotlob and Mr. Jim Leisenring as deputy coroner some years back. A more professional and considerate trio of individuals with the scope of duties performed by that office cannot be found. I commend them.


Jack Minnig

Locust Gap