You know by now that Barack Obama has been named Time's Person of the Year. Who saw that coming?
But who is your person of the year? Someone you know who made a difference in your life or someone else's life. It could be a big thing, it could be a little thing, it just has to be a thing that impressed the heck out of you.
Favorite person: The Police
Why: As a Somali I've had many run-ins with the cops in which I was mishandled and harassed that I've taken it upon myself to learn about American law and what cops can and cannot do to civilians. Heck I just may become a lawyers and fight for Somali rights in Minnesota.
I will kick things off by nominating Mark Ritchie. I don't think I need to go into any reasons why, it should be obvious to all Minnesotans who are rightfully proud of our democratic process. When he decided to run for Secretary of State, I was frankly surprised. I don't know him, but knew of him, and knew what he could bring to the table. All Minnesotans should be counting their lucky stars that he stepped up for us. Mark Ritchie, person of the year in my book!
I'm not looking for a typical person of the year. I'm looking for people of the year to YOU; people you know. Not necessarily prominent people. Ideally, they're people who don't get any public credit.
I can think of many many. For starters... There is
Marcie Brooke...who has started a nonprofit whose aim is parent education at the worksite...for parents who can't take time off to attend efc classes in the mornings or evenings. Then there is Joel Johnson, retired from directing choirs at Roseville High School..., and his wife Karen Johnson, who now directs a little church choir and inspires them and brings them to performance heights beyond their individual capabilities.
Tom Gerenz...who runs the Senior Recovery Program...a very unique organization for seniors who are struggling with addiction...one of a kind, operates on a shoe string in a little facility in north St. Paul. Volunteers pick folks up and bring them back home from meetings. Because transportation is a huge barrier to seniors who need help.
Hokey though it may seem - I would nominate the librarians at my local library and the folks who work at my local grocery (both walking distance from my house). They make my everyday life easier and more pleasant. They add to the sense that I live in a community; someplace more than a neighborhood of houses, but almost a mini small town in a corner of south Minneapolis. They remember me, they remember my kid - and they add to my quality of life in large and small ways they probably don't realize. Technically, this is not Person of the Year, but People of the Year, I guess - but there's my nomination none-the-less.
I nominate Brenda N., Brenda H., Jolene and Danni, all animal handlers at the Minnesota Valley Humane Society in Burnsville. Their pay is definately not a grand amount; their work is physical--cleaning, handling scared, sometimes sick animals. A person has to be an animal lover to work in a shelter and because people surrender sick or old animals, the handlers have to make really tough decisions and are often in tears. What a wonderful group of people they are!
One of my youngest clients (name changed for privacy) Krystie, who at age 18 began having difficulties with balance. Soon she began to blackout regularly, enough so that she could no longer take the city bus to her school. After 9 months of deteriating health she was found to not only be an incredibly young victim of an incredibly aggressive form of MS, but to also have her body riddled with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was just becoming independent, when suddenly she needed people more than ever, especially her immediate family. She is lucky to have found that. But this is not a "disabled" young woman. She is fighting with every ounce she has (and I would guess she is about 110lbs) for her younger, very intelligent brothers who are not victims of illness, as is their sister, but of pure, dirty poverty. Living in circumstances that few of us with computers can imagine, she has a ready beautiful smile and welcomes every visit. Over several visits I realized she has become her whole family's rock. She may need daily help to meet her physical needs, but she is the family's organizer. The biggest thing that kept her going was she could vote for a president this year, even though she could no longer hold a pen. She found out her rights and she voted. She voted for her hero! He and the hope he brought to her community kept her going, but for me, she was the hero. She continues to have hope, a love for education, and has already overcome so many incredible odds it isn't close to justice to give her MS and RA on tope of it all. Yet if anyone will win, she will, and her family will. She has kept me going since I met her.
Wall of text burns the eyes.
Obama's definitely my person of the year. He's not just a symbol to me, he's a real and very inspiring person. I feel like No one else has even come close to giving me this much hope in years.
I would like to nominate my boss, Mark. As woman in the corporate workforce for a number of years, I have seen many awkward work situations and I do sometimes wonder if gender has something to do with it.
While sitting around a table with many people that we do business with on a regular basis, I watched my boss subtly build me up and prepare the folks in the room for the new responsibility that I would be taking on, people I would soon be working directly with.
I have not had many bosses that are willing to stand behind me publicly, and this incident will forever shine in my memory. I hope to be able to someday emulate such behavior towards people who work for me.
people of the year: