Editors Notes: More than a few good men
Making my way through interviewing people and writing this month's features, I kept returning to the office to tell our staff, "I just met the most wonderful man."
In fact, this is just "great guy" month here at Entertainment Fort Smith. Whenever we come to our annual Partners in Education articles, we always meet outstandingly nice volunteers, men and women both, who take time away from their jobs to read a book to a student, bring food or supplies to a school or spend a few hours a month tutoring a boy or girl.
But this time, just by chance, I kept meeting and interviewing males for whom my admiration rose higher and higher as we talked. I restrained myself from hugging a few of them.
I missed one important one. Howard Elementary's Big Man - Keith Cummings, is known to us to be too much of the strong, silent type when it comes to speaking of himself. He's not shy, because he has spent countless hours being there for hundreds of kids as a representative of Gerber, Howard's long-time Partner in Education. He is modest.
Cummings must have been proud to have been honored at the 2012 Partners Banquet in May but this quiet hero also looked just a little bit miserable in the spotlight. He'd rather give attention to others, it seems.
We see you, Mr. Cummings. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do!
Talking with Chris Gosch of Taco Bell was heart-warming. He is so obviously, deeply fond of helping kids and was thrilled to be remembered as "The Taco Man" by a 16-year-old mall clerk who recently recognized Gosch from school days several years ago at Spradling Elementary.
And I was overwhelmed by Tim Bailey, who has become a mentor this year at Chaffin Junior High School. His office at Central Mall is filled with pictures of his four children whom he and his wife adopted internationally. A picture of the young man Bailey has befriended at school this year is in a frame on his desk, right beside them.
The young student and his mentor have discovered they have a lot in common. Bailey is sharing some personal obstacles from his own youth with the student to try to show him that life can turn out well if you keep working hard toward your goals and dreams.
I really like Alex Sanchez, who could be called the guy who can't say no to helping kids. He's a doting dad, a constant volunteer already and an official partner, through his employer, Arvest Bank, to an elementary school. But he didn't say no when asked to cook for a crowd of Kimmons kids, too.
There are a great many more good guys in this fantastic, ongoing partnership program and many of them are trying for the first time to be individual mentors.
If you know a man who is doing this, how about you pitch in and join him? Men seem to make a big difference at key times in young men's lives. It's also important for girls and young women to know caring, decent men, too. Even at my advanced age, it did me some good to be around these fine men!
It's our 12th anniversary of publication
Speaking of aging, we are! Entertainment Fort Smith is now 12 years old. August is the anniversary of our first issue in 2000. I'm still looking at a coffee can I threw on my desk as a pen and pencil holder just about then. Time flies when you're always trying to meet a deadline, I guess. It is still our privilege to be able to write about wonderful guys (and women) and fun times. Thanks, readers, for sticking with us this all this time!