Sunday, October 12, 2014
In the mid 1960’s I met a man who changed my life. At that time he was a high school teacher in Sanford, Florida. I was an aviation electronic technician based at the United States Naval Air Station there. We met through our wives who had become friends at work.
Several years later, after I had left the Navy and was attending the University of Tennessee, he convinced me to join him in southern Arizona to work on a remarkable project he had conceived and developed as the Coordinator for Resources and Planning for Arizona Rural Effort, Inc., a five county community action agency.
He had written a grant that among other things utilized a mobile television van to create radio and television broadcasting material for the Poverty Program. It was one of only nine funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) throughout the United States.
The federally funded research and demonstration project received national media and Congressional attention in 1970 when it demonstrated the feasibility of utilizing microwave transmission for mobile medical units in isolated rural areas.
The two years we worked together on that project were, perhaps, the most intense, significant, and influential work experience of my life. And, that is saying a great deal when considering the entirety of my professional experiences and accomplishments.
For a good ten years we continued to maintained our friendship, visiting one another and communicating on a regular bases, in spite of the fact, the paths of our lives and work had taken us in different directions.
Though we lost contact with one another during the 1980’s and 90’s while he was working abroad in South American, Africa and the Far East, in recent years we renewed our friendship, our mutual feelings of trust, affection, assistance, approval and support.
Over the last seven years, Jack has authored a number of essays and articles for this Blog. Twelve days ago on October 1, 2014, my beloved friend died of a heart attack. He was jogging as he had done most everyday beneath the old live oaks between the Sacred Heart Church and Regions Bank on the west side Old Dixie Hwy in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. He was 74 years old.
I will miss his intellect, his advice and council, and his kind gentle spirit until the day I died.