OK, so maybe the title is a little overly dramatic, but part of me believes it. I was a 20 year old college student on a fast path to burning out. I had gone to school to become a photojournalist and had decent potential. My parents and grandparents shouldered the burden of the expense and off to Fort Hays State University I went.
A couples of problems stood in my way… the first one being that in the photojournalist program, the instructor picked a few students that he found worthy and took them under his wing. The rest of us where left to kind of wander on our own. Second, I was into partying, and school was just a backdrop for that. My idea of college was the movie “animal house”. So maybe it was no surprise that I was not seen as a student worth investing in.
On a lark, I signed up for a radio class. When Jack walked in, he filled it completely. He was inclusive to everyone and his passion for his subject was contagious. I switched to a radio/tv degree and with his mentorship and friendship, pulled out of the tailspin I was in and salvaged my college experience. Not only had I salvaged it, I had found a career that would lead me to places I had never imagined I could go.
A few years ago, we stopped in to visit him. He had become older, frailer, and yet still exuded an energy and joy that once again filled me with passion.I had the opportunity to tell him what he had done for me and thank him. Jack passed on last summer. I look forward tot the day when we meet again, and I can thank him again for believing in me.
Jack is just one of the army of people in my life that have helped me. I pray I can give back half of what has been given me.