A dream soars

I drove out to Macon, Mo. yesterday to cover a pretty cool assignment. Media and journalism get a lot of flak for giving a lot of attention to negative stories, but this one has heart warming written all over it – even if it is a little bittersweet.

Ruth Payton, 82, of Macon, in red, watches Watson, a 5-year-old American bald eagle, take flight yesterday in Long Branch State Park. Payton, who is terminally ill with hemolytic anemia — a disease that prematurely destroys red blood cells — said she had always wanted to see a bald eagle. Her hospice worker, Randi Petre, contacted the University of Missouri’s Raptor Rehabilitation Project, which arranged for Payton to come see Watson be released back into the wild. The eagle was brought to MU’s Raptor Rehabilitation Project last month after being found in Randolph County with severe lead poisoning, likely the result of ingesting contaminated fish or deer.

Watson takes to the sky after being released over Long Branch Lake on Sunday afternoon.

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