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“And he that humbleth himself ...”

September 26, 2011
Weirton Daily Times

We parents say a lot of things to our children over and over and over again.

We say it multiple times for multiple reasons - the children are not listening, it is important, we really want them to understand the situation.

There are multiple passages in the Bible that are repeated and, for the most part, for the same reasons just mentioned. One such verse is in Luke 14:11 and Matthew 23:12:

"For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

Being humble is, according to the dictionary: 1. not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful; 2. having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.: In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble; 3. low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly: of humble origin; a humble home; 4. courteously respectful: In my humble opinion you are wrong; 5. low in height, level, etc.; small in size: a humble member of the galaxy.

Josh Ripley was that humble person in a recent cross country race, the Applejack Invitational.

Lakeville South's Mark Paulauskas, all of 5-foot-4, 100 pounds, was inadvertently spiked by a competitor and was on the ground in pain. Multiple runners passed him during the three-mile race, even though he was in obvious pain.

The 6-foot-5, 185-pound Ripley stopped, picked Paulauskas up and carried him about a half-mile back to the Lakeville coaches.

"I didn't think about my race, I knew I needed to stop and help him," Ripley said in an Anoka-Hennepin school district release. "It was something I would expect my other teammates to do. I'm nothing special; I was just in the right place at the right time."

"I could see my ankle bone and I just knew it was bad," Paulauskas said in an interview with Esme Murphy of WCCO-TV. "A lot of runners passed me."

"It was bleeding pretty profusely," said Ripley in the same interview. "I asked him if I could help him and he said I could, so I picked him up and started running with him.

"He just scooped me up and started running," said Paulauskas.

"It's kind of crazy how you do something kind and you get recognized as much as I have been," said Ripley.

"I just want to say that I'm really, really thankful for what he did - stopping his race just to help me, is really and truly a wonderful thing," said Paulauskas, who has 21 stitches in his ankle.

Once Ripley dropped Paulauskas off, he didn't stand there and accept congratulatory pats on the back for his efforts, he ran the half-mile back and finished the race.

Jacob Raleigh made it to the state high school tennis tournament in Kentucky as a sophomore as a member of a doubles team. After losing in the first round, he vowed to get back there.

He did as a senior, but never expected to do so on the road he traveled.

Seven months before the state tournament, the left-hander had his left arm amputated just below the shoulder because of cancer.

"To have to go through cancer, first of all. Then you have your dominant arm taken away," said Tyler Smith, Jacob's doubles partner told Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. "And still to be able to come back and play like he has, it's crazy. I don't know if I could have done that."

Raleigh had a bump on his left wrist and it really started hurting one day in March 2010. A tumor was removed and samples were sent around the country to be evaluated.

The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota said Raleigh had epithelioid sarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer that usually strikes young adults.

"They told me," Jacob says, "I had a one-in-10-million chance of getting what I had."

According to the story, on a trip to the Mayo Clinic the family was given three choices: amputation of his left arm, a severe regimen of radiation that would leave his left arm in place but render it useless or a surgery that would remove tendons from Jacob's legs and replace the cancerous areas in his arm.

The family chose No. 3.

But, after a while, the pain came back.

On Oct. 21, 2010, Raleigh had his left arm amputated.

"I was scared to death," he said.

Three months later, Raleigh and his dad grabbed their rackets, went to a court and began hitting. His on hand, his only hand, the one that used to be his off hand, was now holding the racket.

After that session, Raleigh decided to play high school tennis in his senior year.

"I thought I could do it," he said.

According to the story, Henderson County's Stephan Williams and Morgan Johnson had no idea they were facing a one-armed foe.

"When we got out there, I was curious to see how he was going to pick up balls," Williams said. "And I really wondered how he would serve. I thought he would put it on his racket and then pop it up. But he had the ball and the racket in his hand and tossed.

"I thought it was really cool."

"I'm just excited," Raleigh said before the state tourney match. "It means everything to me to be back here."

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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