Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday 9-21

I covered the sentencing hearing for Neil Shanak yesterday. Shanak was sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing Michael Wautlet in a drunk driving crash last April. I never met Michael Wautlet in person. The only time I had seen him before his death was in commercials for the Community Blood Center where he talked about making time to donate blood--despite his busy schedule.

And what a schedule that was. Wautlet was a volunteer track coach for St. Mary's Central High School and youth football coach as well. He volunteered for Blood Center and his church. He even played Santa Claus at events where less fortunate kids would get gifts. The court got dozens of victim impact statements talking about the role Wautlet played in their lives. Both the prosecutor and the judge called Wautlet a "giant in the community".

The question now is who will fill those shoes? Who will take the time to touch the lives of so many kids? How about we do it?

For years I have considered joining a certain volunteer program but for some reason I always find an excuse. I'm too busy or too tired or what if I don't like it. But this time I'm pushing those excuses aside. And I'm asking you to do the same. Consider giving just a little bit more of your time to help someone else. There are a number of programs and groups looking for volunteers and there has to be one that can fit your schedule. Or you can just give blood to help save lives. Or you can stop by out Coats for Kids Kickoff Cookout this afternoon at Town and Country Electric in Appleton. You can't imagine what a difference having a warm coat will make for a needy child this winter.

It doesn't matter what you do, just try to do one thing to help someone else in our community. Together we might just be able to fill the shoes of a giant lost too soon.

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