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Shine, That They May See Your Good Works

By Alicia Dorr in News on Dec 10, 2007 7:10PM

There isn't much sadder than this: Blythe Ann O'Sullivan, a 25-year-old Bloomingdale native, died on Thursday while serving in the Peace Corps.

osullivan.bmpO'Sullivan was far from her family when an accident occurred in the fields of Suriname, where she was working with local women to create and fund a village community center and help get clean drinking water to rural areas. She was shot in the thigh after tripping the wire on a device local farmers use to keep wild game off their lands. While the animal trap is illegal, the incident is still being considered an accident by Peace Corps officials and the government of Suriname, which are both still investigating the incident.

She was one of more than 8,000 current volunteers and trainees serving in 74 countries throughout the world, and one of 41 in Suriname. Volunteer deaths do occur; O'Sullivan was the fourth this year. Still, the Illinois native gleaned invaluable wisdom while working as a small-business advisor in the country.

According to her parents, in her last phone call to them she said, "I am so humbled by the challenges the Suriname villagers must conquer day-after-day. Here, each waking moment must be spent satisfying basic needs that, in the U.S., are virtually satisfied at birth. We can never do too much for these fellow citizens of our one world." We hope that we and many people in Illinois and beyond can take those words of wisdom to heart, and that her life will serve as an inspiration because of her good works.

Image of O'Sullivan via the Peace Corps web site.