Here is a letter I wrote on their behalf:
November 25, 2009
I am a high school science teacher at Wood River High School, a parent, and a member of the Wood River Valley, Idaho. I am concerned that our community is about to lose two valuable assets: Erwin Kett and Marlis Kett. Ewin and Marlis are Hailey, Idaho residents since 2000 and contribute immensely to the communities, families, and children in our small valley. They wish to continue to live here and everyone in this community hopes they can.
Erwin is very patriotic and fully participates in our 4th of July festivities. He even looks like Uncle Sam when he is dressed in his red-white-and-blue costume with a star-spangled top hat. Families and visitors to our parade will miss pictures with our Uncle Sam. He dresses up as Santa Clause and Marlis dresses up as Mrs. Clause every year, as well. They visit numerous schools and community events as the Clause’s. In fact, they are visible components in all our major holidays.
When I was a cub scout leader, Erwin helped us raise money and helped whenever he could. In fact, he and his wife regularly visits pre-schools, elementary schools, and the high school to offer his services and good will. I have witnessed him helping children with social, academic, and financial situations that model good citizenship and positive “grandfatherly” friendship. He really cares about children and the community and their growth and development. Visitors to the Wood River Valley will be upset to know that the United States is not allowing Erwin to obtain a visa.
More importantly, Erwin is my co-advisor for the high school chess club for the past 3 years. He has mentored numerous teenagers in this successful program and financially sponsors many of the at-risk youths that cannot afford to participate in chess events. Our two state chess championships may not even have occurred without his help! This program runs twice a week for the entire school year for 2 hours after school. Erwin does not miss any of these meetings, and if he is even slightly tardy, students are asking “Where is Erwin?” Everybody wants Erwin to stay in our community.
I have paid many social visits to their house in Hailey with my family. Invariably, neighbors and other guests are always present and enjoying their hospitality.
I do not claim to understand the immigration rules, however, Erwin and Marlis are exactly the individuals that our country desires and needs. They are selfless, productive, and contributing seniors that deserve to be able to retire in the Wood River Valley or at least visit when they are able to. It is my hope that the United States government will feel this way, too.
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