Families Against Cancer & Toxics

Stop cancer before it starts

When I agreed to meet Floyd Sands one beautiful
spring day, I was a bit nervous. He was
intimidating from his articulate outspokenness of
the Fallon Nevada Childhood Cancer Cluster which
included his late daughter, Stephanie.

Floyd was the kind of guy that pounded the table
when the facts and law were on his side. And
when they weren't, he still pounded the table
because children dying from corporate abuse of
the environment evoked a moral outrage in him.

I carried a clipping from my blooming dogwood
trees that day to give him for it was the season
of resurrection.

I picked him up at the local Comfort Inn in my
daughter's jeep. Our daughters. That's what
we talked about.

As we dined at a roadhouse restaurant, he shared
with me about Stephanie's battle with leukemia
and heartless insurance companies. There were
moments in his awakening of the evil involved in
the cluster cover up which I sensed were so
profoundly seared in his mind that until
he destroyed the roots of such evil, he would not
rest.

He was an army of one passing through Georgia to
rally and encourage me after having discovered my
own son was collateral damage from toxic trespass
of industry rubber stamped with the seal of
government approval.

A warrior for children's environmental health,
Floyd knew firsthand how vulnerable and
dependent children were on adults to protect
them. He had raised his daughter, Sierra, as a
single parent. I saw the soft side of the
warrior that day. He talked about Sierra's high
school graduation and letting her go. His
grandson, Ewan, left motherless, was more than a
baseball superstar and fishing buddy. I
think on some days Ewan was the driving force of
Floyd's strength.

We were two troubled souls intersecting that day
to proclaim our alliance to fight for what is
good, right, and even holy.

After dining, Floyd accompanied me to a local
Mayor and Commissioners meeting where he listened
to the powers that be offer excuses why they had
to expand our local toxic landfill in spite of a
written agreement with citizens not to. As a
political insider, he quickly analyzed the
players on his bureaucratic bull meter.

Afterwards, he offered me strategical advice
about my ministry work with residents from this
landfill leaking hazardous waste.

Aware of my advocacy for citizens living under
the operations of corrosive underground petroleum
pipelines and poison-spewing natural gas
compressor stations, he entrusted me with secrets
that night that only a soldier in the trenches
would know.

When we said goodbye, I knew Floyd Sands was a friend for life.

We continued our cyber friendship up until
shortly before his death last Friday. He had
Sierra call me the day he made it to PA for his
depositions, a feat in itself I was unsure he
would accomplish. But the brave warrior, even as
cancer was overtaking his body, was still
thinking about justice in Fallon.

I will cherish that spring day he took the time
to visit and open up his heart. As I was going
through our correspondences, I noticed our
burdens on the journey were made lighter from our
comradery.

Floyd was a gift from the Creator to me as a
reminder we are not abandoned. We can share one
another's burdens, and in that fellowship sense
the Spirit is here comforting us in our painful
encounters with evil.

As for the dogwood I gave Floyd on that
spring day we met, I believe he fully
understands now the Christian legend it
represents.


Jill McElheney
Micah's Mission

In Memory of Floyd Sands
June 5, 2009

 
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