SALUTE TO SERVICE
MEET THE COLES
Like so many Norfolk resident, the Navy brought Josephine and Jim Cole to Norfolk after they married in 1965. They stayed... rasied two sons, Eddie who is 36 and Michael who is 34, and they both enjoyed long careers as civil servants before retiring. Jo retired from the U.S. Department of Commerce with 31 years of service in 1997 and jim retired from the U.S. department of the Navy and Naval Reserve in 2001 with a combined total 40 years of service.
Jo began working as Officer of Election in response to the Office call for help to fill a shortage of Officers before the November 1997 election. Jim followed after he retired. Jo also worked part-time as an Election Assistant in the Office of Elections, which has given her a very well rounded perspective of the election process. What makes the Coles continue this important this community service, year after? According to Jo, “We feel it gives us an opportunity to do something for the community and the city of Norfolk. It is such a privilege to vote in this country and to be part of the process. Ensuring that a good election takes place in the city gives us much satisfaction. We also enjoy meeting so many people.”
The Coles have been a part of the transition to new voting technology in Norfolk. They met the challenges of moving from an outdated punch card system to a state-of-the-art touch-screen system... Continuing their tradition of making Tanner’s creek one of Norfolk’s best managed precincts. When asked how they feel about the recent technology changes in voting they responded, “We really enjoyed this last election with the Electronic Pollbook. It saves so much time by not having to call downtown if a voter shows up in the wrong precinct. We are able to get that voter off to the right precinct with a map to show where the precinct is located.”
You might think that election duties, four grandchildren, and a mixed Border Collie-English pointer named “Pepper” would take every spare ounce of energy the Coles might have to volunteer to the community... Not so! Both Jo and Jim are Norfolk Master Gardener Volunteers... volunteering for projects such as the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, the Virginia Zoological Park (Barnyard garden) and the Weyonoke Sanctuary. They also find time to volunteer at Holy trinity Catholic church to landscape the grounds, assist in coordinating the lenten soup Suppers and helping with Vacation Bible School.
The Coles have faced many challenge in their41 year marriage, but none greater than the challenges when their 34 year old son Michael was recently diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma... a rare type of cancer in the lymphatic system. Michael was referred to the medical College of Virginia (MCV) for treatment in January 2006. After the initial evaluation, the family learned that Michael’s only hope for a cure is an Adult Stem Cell Transplant, which has a 98% cure rate when successfully completed. The joy over the good news was guarded the transplant procedure presented a three-fold challenge. First, the procedure requires a suitable donor, it costs 200.000.00... Which is not covered by health insurance, and it will require Michael to be hospitalized at (MCV) for one mouth for debilitating high dose chemotherapy before undergoing an additional three months of treatment that will require him to remain in Richmond.
In Spite of the obstacle, the optimism is growing as the challenenges are being met head-on by the Coles and Michael’s friends. The donor challenge was met when Michael’s brother, Eddie, proved to be a suitable donor. A special Michael Cole Transplant Fund(Account # 004350680927) has been set up so that tax deductible contributions, to help cover the cost of the transplant, can be made though any Bank of American office. Jo and jim have expressed their gratitude for all of the thoughts, prayers, and support they have received from the community
I know you will join the Office of Elections in saluting the Cole for their service in Elections and to the Citizens of Norfolk and wishing the family the very best as they face the months ahead.