Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Ken Knickerbocker

“Wishing For Deeper Understanding, A Better America” ~ Amanda Farr-Knickerbocker

My friend, Ken Knickerbocker is the editor of Parkesburg Today which “provides the people of Parkesburg news of events and happenings around town and across the Octorara region”. Ken does a remarkable job with his community’s online news and I enjoy reading about this small town in the midst of a more rural Chester Chounty than we know around here.

I had the pleasure to attend Parksburg Library’s Christmas Tour in and around Parksburg last year and hope to make it back this year — Saturday, December 7. Parksburg is a wonderful little borough; so close and yet so far away. But far away in a good way. Parksburg is the kind of small town where strangers smle at you, offer directions or push you out of the snow. Ken and his wife raised their wonderful family in historic Parksburg . Sharing the ‘old house’ connection, Ken and I commiserate about the tribulations (and joys) associated with old house ownership!

As a regular reader of Parksburg Today, I am sharing an article written by Ken’s daughter Amanda Far-Knickerbocker that appears online today; an article related to healthcare in America. Amanda and her husband Peter (a Navy physician) have two children, a foster child and live in San Diego. Their daughter (Ken’s grandaughter) Charlotte is now a thriving 3-1/2 year old but entered life very differently — only weighing 1 lb. 1 oz. at birth! Born at Chester County Hospital, Charlotte spent much of her early months struggling just to survive, suffering a stroke and enduring heart surgery. As Charlotte’s mother, Amanda understands well the need for affordable healthcare and accessibility of insurance … I encourage you to read the following. As Amanda says, “Wishes are cheap – change is hard. Let’s do better America.”

Wishing for Deeper Understanding, A Better America”

By Amanda Farr-Knickerbocker

You know what would be awesome? If we could see each other as people.

If we could recognize that kids like Charlotte need to be able to access health insurance throughout their lives, regardless of their pre-existing conditions. If we could also see that many families are barely making it financially, and they just cannot see a way to make paying for health insurance work in their households.

If we could see the fathers across the country, sitting next to their sick children, and understand that they never expected this to happen. They never planned on their child being hit by that car, or being diagnosed with cancer, or attempting to commit suicide. They are the ones who are grateful for the mandate for coverage for things on which we do not plan.

If we could also see the mothers, sitting at the dining room table, a pile of bills surrounding her, unable to make the math work. If we could hear her frustration when she is told she isn’t enrolled in the proper plan, or her work hours are being cut because she has a shady employer, or her family makes just too much money for a subsidy, but not enough to cover all their expenses.

Maybe then something would change.

I wish we could see the nineteen year old who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer on his first winter break of college, or the mom of four children, on her way home from being diagnosed with Leukemia. I wish we could understand the horror parents face when their children reached their 1 million dollar lifetime max at 30 days of life.

I wish we could see the President as someone who struggles to create a nation that protects the underserved and uninsured. A man who wants a better America for his own dear daughters, even when we disagree with his vision.

I wish we could see Congress as people who are fighting for their ideals– even when those ideals don’t match our own, and even when their methods seem convoluted.

Wishes are cheap– change is hard. Let’s do better, America.


Amanda Farr-Knickerbocker is a former Parkesburg resident now living with her husband Peter, a Navy doctor, two children and a foster child in San Diego, California.

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