Persons of the Month – April 2010

We have an unprecedented task to tackle this month. As faithful readers may recall, the March POM was actually posted on April 1 and therefore I took the opportunity to play a little April Fool’s prank. To make up for that I will be naming two POMs for April.

It has been a good month. We were able to say a much-anticipated farewell to what was a long brutal winter and have, for the most part, enjoyed sunshine and warm temperatures. I sense a more positive attitude and an optimistic outlook among the masses. It is amazing what a little brightness and heat can accomplish.

Our first honoree is Greg Taylor. “Who is Greg Taylor?” most will probably ask. To answer that question I direct you to the story that brought him to my attention: http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/03/24/north.carolina.freed.inmate/index.html?hpt=C1 I hope that link works for everyone and I sincerely recommend reading Mr. Taylor’s story. I don’t quite know why it touched my heart so much. Maybe it is because, due to health problems that encompassed a hellish stay at a “skilled” nursing facility and two months long visits to hospitals, I lost 2 years of my life not that long ago. I half-jokingly refer to my two years away from normalcy as “My Unfortunate Incarceration”, but in comparison Mr. Taylor’s situation is so much more compelling and sad. I cannot imagine losing 16 years of my life in prison for a crime I did not commit. He lost a wife, he lost friends, and he missed out on seeing his child grow up. Now he is a free man…or is he?? Society can be cruel. He will not have an easy time getting a job because…regardless of the fact that he has been completely cleared of wrongdoing…potential employers will view him as an ex-con. The fact that he was given $45 for a hotel room is laughable since even the cheapest hotel rooms these days are around $60. In my opinion he is owed a rather large settlement for being wrongfully imprisoned. But I don’t know how a dollar figure can even be attached to losing 16 years of one’s life and then having to go through the remainder of life with the undeserved stigma of having been in jail. I am reminded of the character of Brooks from the film The Shawshank Redemption, an old man who is released after many decades but ends up committing suicide because he cannot adjust to life on the outside. I do not anticipate such a tragic fate for Greg Taylor, but when I have my daily conversations with God I try to remember to give a special shout out for this man I have never met, praying that he gets what he deserves from the system that wronged him and that he is able to move forward with a happy, successful, well-adjusted life. In ask you dear friends to do the same.

The second Person of the Month for April 2010 won his third Green Jacket at golf’s greatest tournament The Masters. I am speaking of course about Phil Mickelson. Not that long ago Mickelson was the guy who couldn’t win the big one, the best player in golf without a victory in one of The Majors (Masters, U.S. Open, PGA, British Open). From 1999-2003 he finished 2nd or 3rd in six Majors and still holds the record for 2nd places finishes (5) in the U.S. Open. But since 2004 he has one 3 Masters and a PGA. This year’s Masters triumph was particularly compelling for two reasons. First, both Mickelson’s wife Amy and his mother have spent much of the past year battling cancer. Phil’s embrace of Amy after the final hole on Sunday was quite poignant yet uplifting. Secondly, the overwhelming story of the tournament was the return of Tiger Woods, who had spent the past several months battling scandal after it was discovered that he had cheated on his wife with well over a dozen women. The contrast between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson could not be clearer. I have always been a fan of both men, but I am strictly a Mickelson guy now. He is living proof that occasionally the good guys do win.

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