Around the Bluhmin’ Town

Remembering Kayla

By Judy Bluhm

The monster is dead. Thanks to the U.S. military special operations raid in Syria, ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was eliminated.

He was responsible for the torture and death of so many innocents, including Kayla Mueller, our hometown young woman who set out to make a difference in the world. And she did.

Kayla seemed to know from an early age that she would work tirelessly to help the poor, sick and suffering people of the world. She was clear on her purpose, committed and devoted to her mission.

America grieves for Kayla because she represented the best part of us.

The pop culture we live in easily sweeps young people into self-absorption and an obsession to share every mundane moment on social media. Money, fame and attention have too often replaced character, faith and self-esteem.

And then we are given the gift of a woman named Kayla to remind us of everything that is good in humanity. She believed that the strong could help the weak, and that life is immeasurably better when we give unselfishly to those in need.

Kayla changed me, and probably you. And just about everyone she touched, which were people in several continents and countries. That it all ended so badly is hard to get out of our minds.

The agony that her parents and family have experienced these past years is simply unimaginable. The strength of Kayla’s beliefs and character are beyond our comprehension.

If we read her letter written in captivity it seems not possible that someone at such a tender age could pen such wisdom. 

Then there are those words from Kayla. “Even in prison I can be free.” Or, “I have no fear.” Her resolve is quite astonishing.

How did a woman so young become so strong? We must look to her parents and loving family who obviously instilled a great deal of faith in a child who grew up to accomplish so much.

There are too many lingering unanswered questions about exactly what happened to Kayla. We pray for answers! Her parents deserve to bring Kayla home.

In 2015 we lit a candle. Let’s do it again. We will continue to let the light of Kayla and her selfless work for the down-trodden show us the way to a meaningful life.

Through the horror of her captivity and torture, she remained strong and compassionate.  Her actions give hope to those of us who have problems that overwhelm us, or illness that feels like conquering us, or problems that seem to be beating us.

She modeled courage and strength, in the darkest of circumstances, showing how each of us have the ability to form our own inner sanctuary.

America is a nation of givers and we are a state of doers. So, in the spirit of Kayla, we will carry on and feed a hungry child, comfort the sick, rescue an animal, help with the less fortunate, donate our time, energy, money and skills to pay it forward to those in need. 

She is an angel, still inspiring us. We remember Kayla.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? You can email Judy at