Monday, August 13, 2018

RYAN HOWISON'S 'SENIOR' MOMENT IN SCOTLAND


The news feed on Facebook bears a lot of crazy things - people taking selfies of their busted
faces and broken bones, women in their 50's posting pictures in their bikinis back in their 20's,
and the never-ending ugly feet by the sea pictures. So, when I saw a picture of Ryan Howison
and his family drinking beers after missing a flight to Europe, I didn't think much about it.

However, when I saw a picture of Howison standing in front of a golf leaderboard two days later
that showed he qualified for the Senior British Open, I yelled out, "You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding, Me!"


Howison, who was a baseball teammate of mine at UNC, qualified for a major golf tournament
and was getting the chance to play on the Old Course at St. Andrews, which is universally
known as the home of golf. He was going to play on the sacred grounds of Scotland in the
Senior British Open.

How the hell did this all happen?

"Last year when I watching it on TV, I thought I should try to qualify, " Howison, 51,
said from his home in Jupiter, Florida. "If for nothing else, to at least be comfortable that I
gave it a shot vs.wishing I had. Especially since it was going to be played at St. Andrews."

That would be great and all, but Howison was working full-time as a financial advisor and
not pounding ball after ball as he did when he played professionally a decade ago. There
wasn't a lot of time for practice and trying to get ready for the type of game he'd have to play
in Scotland was a challenge.

"There aren't many links style course in Florida, especially since it rains here during the
summer and courses don't allow for any roll," Howison said. "In Scotland, balls can roll 100
yards. I started practicing three weeks prior to the trip."


Howison teed it up on one of the four local course used for qualifying. His game was
sharp, as was his mental toughness. With a spot in the Senior British Open within his grasp,
Howison came up clutch, carding a 1-under 70.

"Not that one qualifying round means a lot, but to birdie the final hole to get into a playoff,
then birdie the first playoff hole to earn one of the of the seven spots in the Open, was a great
feeling," Howison said.

Howison was playing in a field that included the great Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer.
Mark O'Meara, Vijay Singh, Tom Lehman, and lovable John Daly was part of it, too. And
there was Ryan Howison - a guy who played baseball, not golf at UNC, getting after it in a
major tournament.


"I had the goal of going over to qualify and now I had," said Howison. "I was looking
forward to running into players I hadn't seen in years. I actually didn't know how many would
even remember me but surprisingly, guys I didn't know all that well were coming over to
congratulate me. That makes you feel good," Howison said.

Howison walked-on and became the starting third basemen on the 1989 UNC team that
won the Atlantic Coast Conference and earned a trip to the College World Series. The next
year he turned pro - in golf. He won three tournaments on the Nike  Tour and earned a
shot on the PGA Tour where success doesn't come easy, especially for a kid who didn't
even play in college.

But now he was in the Senior British Open, playing as a re-instated amateur on the hallow
grounds of St. Andrews, some 10 years after playing with the big boys on the PGA Tour.

"It was a very cool experience," Howison said. "There are many blind shots and you can't see
most of the bunkers which you need to avoid," he said. "I had to putt one time from the fairway
from 60 yards from the green."


Howison couldn't shake off the rust in the first round, posting a 5-over 77. He found his game
in round two and was 3-under through 13. However, he couldn't get the putter to fire up some
late round magic and Howison finished with a level par-72. That wasn't good to play on the
weekend.

"Unfortunately, I missed the cut," he said. "Overall, I left the event feeling like I could still
compete - if I didn't have a day job," Howison joked.

Asked if he ever thought about what would've happened if he concentrated on golf instead
of baseball at UNC, Howison didn't take long to react.


"I do and I'm so glad I didn't," he said. "My experiences being part of UNC baseball are
some of the best of my life. I loved the team aspect and the relationships created that have
lasted 30-plus year. Never once did I wish I played college golf. And it makes a better story
that a baseball player played on the PGA Tour than an All-America golfer did," Howison said.

And Ryan Howison can also say he's the only person to play in the College Baseball World
Series, golf on the PGA Tour, and compete in a senior major championship. That's a damn
good story.





Monday, August 6, 2018

BRIAN BILL AND THE POWER OF ARLINGTON CEMETERY



Arlington National Cemetery can overpower you.

It moves you in a way you never thought possible.

400,000 white marble headstones on 624 plush green acres will humble you, take your breath
away, and make you seem as small as the blade of grass that nestles up to a marker letting
you know someone far bigger than you can ever hope to be, made the ultimate sacrifice for
the country.


While on assignment interviewing professional athletes Washington, D.C. in June,  I was
drawn to Arlington National Cemetery. I needed to walk the sacred grounds where nearly
every soldier who lost  their life in our nation's conflicts, starting with the Civil War, is buried.

But of the more than 400,000 soldiers laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, there
was one I just had to visit, no matter what.

Brian Bill.

Bill died on August 6, 2011 while fighting in Afghanistan. Riding in a Chinook helicopter,
Bill and 16 of his brothers on SEAL Team Six were brought down by a rocket-propelled
grenade fired by the Taliban. In all, 30 Americans lost their lives - the largest loss of life by
the U.S. in the Afghan War. It's forever known as Extortion 17.

Bill was from Stamford, Connecticut, the town bordering the one I spent most of my high
school years. He was just 31-years-old. I was working at a local station at the time and
when I saw where Bill was from, I wanted to know everything I could about him. And the
more I learned about him, the more I realized what a real genuine hero the guy is. Not was.
Is.

There is no better proof of this than the actions that earned him the third of his four Bronze Star
Medals with Valor. I read this during a fundraising event for Bill last June and quite honestly,
my jaw dropped.

From the U.S. Department of Defense:

While performing in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Bill was part of a ground force
element during a daring nighttime raid against a heavily armed enemy commander. While
attempting to engage a barricaded fighter hidden inside the target building, one of his teammates
was struck and mortally wounded by enemy fire, causing him to fall directly in front of the barricaded enemy's position.

With complete disregard for his own safety, Bill fought his way into the compound, exchanging
fire with the enemy fighter while maneuvering to his wounded teammate. Within point blank
range of the barricaded enemy, Bill pulled his comrade from the precarious position where he
had fallen as enemy rounds impacted the rock wall around him. He then courageously exposed himself to the enemy fire again, as he pulled his wounded teammate across the open courtyard
to a position behind cover.

By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication
to duty,  Bill reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United
States Naval Service.

Simply amazing.

I have written several articles about Brian Bill and met his incredible family - and if you've
had the opportunity to meet the family you'd probably say "incredible" doesn't do them justice.
They are amazing people - just as Brian was. I've tried to do my best to honor his sacrifice
and fearless commitment to our country with my words and incredible respect for him.
I hold Brian in higher regard than any professional athlete I've ever met or profiled.


However, during that sweltering day in June, I felt the need to pay my respects to him in
the Arlington National Cemetery.  I went to the information center and typed the name of
Brian Bill into a computer.

Section 60 Site 9930

That is where the body of Brian Bill, American hero, rests.

No words were spoken between me and my photographer who was on assignment with
me. After I softly uttered, "Section 60 Site 9930" we were muted by the sight of all those
headstones that dominated the land in front of us.


I was in awe of all the soldiers who gave so much to our country. I was once again in awe
of Brian Bill when I came upon his headstone in Arlington National Cemetery. My spine started
to tingle and goose bumps raised quickly across both of my arms. Breathless.

I paid my respects, thanked him for his service, and let him know I had met his wonderful
family. Brian Bill will always be an American hero. He should never be forgotten. Ever.

And if you ever get to Washington, D.C., make sure to visit Arlington National Cemetery.
It is powerful. It is humbling. And it will make you really appreciate what self-sacrifice is
all about.






Wednesday, August 1, 2018

JOHN MARTIN'S 'GREATNESS' FINALLY ARRIVES



For nearly 20 years, New England fans saw their sports teams through the lens of John
Martin who captured the many indelible images while working for NESN, the flagship 
network of the Boston Red Sox and Bruins. In the midst of battling ALS, Martin put those
20 years into 141 wildly entertaining pages of a book called "Waiting For Greatness:
Memories and Musings of a Sports Television Cameraman."

"I always maintained during my television career, I'd someday write a book chronicling my
experience," Martin wrote from his home in Newton, Massachusetts. "Tried a few times
but couldn't get it going. Always knew the title. A year and half past retirement, I just started dictating one afternoon. It took me a month and a half to put together."



Martin experienced an incredible run covering the professional teams in the best sports town
in the country. Boston is a sports mecca with the biggest stars producing the greatest reality
series on television. Martin was there when the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins
captured 10 world championships during a 15-year stretch. The moments were priceless, the memories - unforgettable.


"My hope is that people get an inside look at my career during an unprecedented time in
Boston sports. And a few laughs," Martin said. "It morphed into more of a giant job description
and a venue of offering personal accolades to fellow co-workers. I'm quite pleased with it. The pictures were important, too - being a visual person."


Martin is much more than a visual person. He is creative, thoughtful, funny, hardworking,
and dependable. There isn't a person who has met Martin that doesn't love him. In the
cut-throat world of television, Martin was universally loved and respected. You may have not
been his best friend, but he always made you feel like you were.

The book was released July 18 and received rave reviews from his former co-workers and
colleagues.

'Waiting For Greatness' lives up to its title. John has been there for all the good times, the
bad times, and best of all, he knows how to tell a unique story about all of it. He really 
showcased what working in the media was all about for those of us there were there. It
was more about the stories, the friends, and all the laughs." - Bryan Brennan, Selfie King
and former NESN videographer.




There were a lot of laughs with his former co-workers and colleagues from his near two
decades working in sports television. Few worked harder than Martin and not many had
as much fun as Martin did. As he often liked to say, "I'm just living the dream." He lets
readers know just how great he had it while covering sports in Boston.


"It's a great peek behind the curtain of Johnny's career at NESN. Some great stories from
the man who spent a lot of time on the road with the B's and Sox. You also get a glimpse
into the mind of JPM - a man who always tells it like he sees it." - Greg Glass, videographer
at WHDH-TV in Boston.

In a television industry filled with people born with paper-thin skin and easily bruised egos,
Martin always said what he had to say in a way that didn't offend anyone- but they sure
as heck got his point. That's one of the things that makes Martin so great - and admired.
That comes through in 'Greatness' which makes for a wonderful read.



"Without trying, John showcases his humble kindness, true happy nature, being a genuine
friend and inspiring those around him as well. One word comes to mind when I think of
John and this book - genuine. He doesn't focus on himself. Like a scrapbook of his life, this
book takes the reader on the journey he took over the years." - Kim Agostino, former 
co-worker at NESN

I worked with Martin for two years at NESN. We spent most of the time hustling our asses
off and laughing so hard until it hurt. We loved our jobs and were always committed to
doing our best no matter what obstacles we faced. There were moments we'll both never
forget like covering Bill Belichick playing touch football with his family well after a game
in near total darkness at Gillette Stadium. We were the only members of the media there
and watched in amazement as the Hoodie was laying out to catch passes as if he were Wes
Welker during his prime. And there was John, in his element, capturing it all through his
lens.

'Waiting for Greatness is the perfect book if you want to know what goes on behind
the scenes of the sports world. Johnny has seen it all and his stories are funny and spot
on accurate." - Marc Cappello, longtime producer 98.5 sports radio.



All his great moments and memories are now documented in "Waiting For Greatness", a book
that Martin is very proud of. It's his story told in his own unique style and JPM appreciates
the response he's received from it.

"It's been overwhelming. More than 200 books were sold in the first week. People genuinely
are enjoying it," Martin said.



Get your copy of "Waiting For Greatness" today. It's a great read.









Monday, July 16, 2018

PETE BOCK, A GREAT BASEBALL MAN, PASSES AWAY




Less than a month after Durham celebrated the 30th anniversary of a movie classic, the
city is mourning the loss of a man who had a significant role in the making of "Bull Durham"
and was a big part of the fabric of baseball in North Carolina.

Pete Bock, who I affectionately called, "Mr. Baseball", passed away on July 14. In my travels
through baseball and sports broadcasting, I've never met anyone quite like Pete Bock. He was
truly a gem. Bock was as nice as the Pope with a kind, gentle heart, who didn't have an enemy
in the world. OK, so maybe he made a few when he worked as a professional umpire, but
once he put away his gear, Bock was as beloved as any person I've ever met.

I first met Bock back in the fall of 1987. I had finished up an unfulfilled baseball career at
UNC and was taking classes needed to get my degree. I'm not sure how Bock got my name
and phone number, but he called me one day to see if I wanted to be part of this baseball
movie in Durham. I was a Radio, Television, and Motion Picture major at UNC so I figured
I'd see how a movie was made up close and person. I reckoned the movie would be in
Blockbuster three weeks after it was released, but thought it'd be a great experience, nonetheless.

Pete and I hit it off right away. I was fascinated by his career in baseball that saw him
become the general manager of the Durham Bulls as well as the Hawaii Islanders, the former
AAA franchise of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a franchise Bock rooted for all the way up until his
death. There were also stops in Eugene, Oregon and Idaho Falls. He must've wondered when
the heck I'd stop with all the questions about his baseball career. I was like a sponge and
wanted to soak in all of his great stories.


With his extensive baseball background and ties to the Durham Bulls, Bock was a natural
fit to be the baseball consultant for "Bull Durham." He was in charge of coordinating baseball
boot camp, a two-week session where the actors really learned how to play. Bock also
chose which players he felt should do which scenes and also appeared as the minister in
the movie, marrying off Millie and Jimmy.

One evening, Pete tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Get a bat and your helmet and go
see Ron at home plate." Ron was Ron Shelton, the director of the movie. He told me that
Kevin Costner was going to tell me what pitch was coming and I was going to hit a home
run. Four pitches later, that was a wrap. 30 years later, I still get to say I hit a bomb off
Nuke LaLoosh.


Thank you, Pete Bock.

For some reason, Pete and I stayed in touch after the movie ended -for like, 28 years. I
criss-crossed the country for various jobs in television and we still managed to keep in touch.
Maybe it was because of the "Bull Durham" thing. Maybe it was because we were former
Tar Heels, I don't know. I will say this, Pete was a much bigger former Tar Heel than I could
ever dream of being. The man loved the Heels. Went to many games dressed in Carolina blue
gear from head-to-toe.  He was friends with Roy Williams and a big contributor to UNC and its
athletic programs.

In 2015, tragedy struck. After an ice storm hit North Carolina, Bock, who lived near Raleigh, 
slipped and fell in his driveway. His wife, Cindy, rushed to his side only to  fall and break her hip.


Bock hit his head in the fall and was paralyzed below the waist. In an instant, his life, which 

had been an amazing up until that point, was changed forever. Hearing this was like a punch 
to the gut that sucked nearly every ounce of oxygen from my entire body. It was sad, tragic, and seemingly so unfair. Anyone who has walked this earth long enough knows that life can 
be cruel and terrible tragedies occur everyday, but this just wasn't right.

Bock was universally loved and respected in a profession where both don't come easy. Besides
his extensive experience running minor-league teams,  Bock founded the Coastal Plain League, 
a collegiate baseball summer league that lists Kevin Youkilis and Justin Verlander among 
its alums.



Pete Bock was a baseball man through and through. But he was so much more than that.
He was a great father, husband, and family man who was very religious. I will never forget
his kind heart, infectious smile, and great laugh. His was a life well-lived. Pete leaves
behind a wonderful family and friends too many to count.

Pete Bock will be missed, but "Mr. Baseball" is in a great place right now, in Heaven, telling
amazing stories about his life and the game he loved.









k.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

THE GREATNESS OF JASON COOPER


As I was running in New Canaan on a sun-splashed Thursday afternoon, a Jeep Wrangler
with its top off, was waiting for the light to turn green at the intersection of South Avenue
and White Birch Road.  I recognized the mountain of a man in the driver's seat who made
the Jeep seem like a Tonka Toy. We had been football teammates at New Canaan High
School and college rivals, attending schools just eight miles apart in North Carolina.

With his mega-watt grin and booming voice, my old friend yelled out, "Devils!", which
brought a big smile to my face. Jogging past his Jeep, I bellowed out, "Big Coooooop!
You are still da man."

Two days later, Jason Cooper, an extraordinary athlete and an even better person, was gone.
He died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 52. His death sent shockwaves through this
bucolic town along Connecticut's Gold Coast.


Cooper was the man during his playing days at New Canaan High School. The football gods
seemingly poured him into a uniform and announced, "This is what a football player should
look like." Cooper was blessed with great size, strength, and immense hands that swallowed up nearly every ball thrown his way. He had a motor that never quit, playing through the whistle
while destroying everyone in his path. Cooper could've played any position on the field and
been named all-state at every one of them. He was that good and that talented. Cooper was
eventually named all-state at tight end while leading Lou Marinelli to the first of his 12
Connecticut championships.

Cooper was all-state in lacrosse as well. At 6'4" and 225 pounds, Coop was a man among boys
and virtually unstoppable playing attack for Coach Howard Benedict's New Canaan Rams.

After graduating from New Canaan, Cooper ascended to even greater heights at Duke
University where he played every single game through his junior year, catching 68 passes. He
also played on the Blue Devils lacrosse team for two years which is quite an amazing feat.


A broken ankle late in his senior year on the gridiron hurt Cooper's chances of being drafted,
but signed free-agent deals with the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys. However,
he never played in an NFL game.

I can go on and on about the great athlete Cooper was - there were few better in the history
of New Canaan sports - but that would take away from shining the light on the person Cooper
was. As tremendous as Coop was on the playing fields, he was even better off them. He was so humble, so giving, and such a loyal friend and teammate.


I used to get a chuckle when Coop would walk into a restaurant or bar with his close friends,
many of whom were much smaller than him (who wasn't?). They would always be in the lead
with this incredible hulk following close behind. They'd have confident looks on their faces,
ones that seemingly wanted to blurt out, "Hey, if you mess with us, then you'll have to mess
with Coop."

Incredibly gifted and extraordinarily accomplished, Cooper never bragged or started a sentence
by saying, "I did this...." or acted like he was better than others. Coop just wanted to be one
of the guys. He was a man's man whom women adored. Cooper was truly loved, admired,
and respected by everyone he came in contact with. We weren't best friends, but he always made
me and many others feel like we were.


On a hot summer night in 1988, I was in Durham playing in a Carolina League game for
the Lynchburg Red Sox. While in the on-deck circle, I heard a booming voice that was quite
familiar to me. "Hey, Devils!" I turned around and it was Coop with a few of his football
teammates at Duke. He had come down to see me play and just say hello. Two innings later,
I hit a grand slam for my first professional home run. Coop was going crazy. Next time I was
in the on-deck circle, he came down to see me and said, "We have to celebrate that one!"
And boy, did we ever. We went to Chapel Hill and closed the town down. Cooper wouldn't
let me pay for a thing and offered to take care of the fine for breaking curfew - which I did
after arriving back at the hotel close to 6 a.m.

That is one memory of Coop that I'll never forget.

While working at a gym one summer, the owner, who was getting rid of some Nautilus
equipment, told me that "if you can move it, you can have it." I needed the biggest and
strongest person in New Canaan to help me. That, of course, was Jason Cooper. When I
asked him, he didn't hesitate - and didn't expect anything in return for giving his time and extraordinary muscle.

That was Jason Cooper.

Cooper was an amazing guy who touched a lot of lives. He was blessed with extraordinary
gifts and used them to accomplish many amazing things.  Jason Cooper was a beautiful
human being-a great, great man who left this world far too soon.

We will never forget you, Coop.








Thursday, May 17, 2018

IF I HAD 10 MORE MINUTES WITH DAD


May 17, 2008.

It's been 10 years since Patrick Joseph Devlin took his last breath in this world. Sometimes it
seems like yesterday that my father died. Other days it feels like he's been gone for more than
a decade. The heart-searing pain that goes with losing a parent subsided a while ago, but on anniversaries, especially the 10th one, the floodgates of raw emotion open far and wide.

My father's death was not sudden, but it came far quicker than anyone in the family could've imagined. He had been battling Alzheimer's disease when he came down with pneumonia. He
went from the emergency room to hospice care in a blur and facing the inevitable became the
reality that we weren't quite ready for, even if his fate had been sealed with his diagnosis five
years earlier.

I was lucky,though, because I got to say good-bye to my father. Some people don't get that
opportunity because death is often sudden and there isn't even a chance to say one last, "I
love you."

I did.

My father was conscious but incoherent as I nestled up to him on his hospital bed to give him
one last hug, the kind he gave me countless times while I was growing up. As morphine
continued to drip from the IV next to his bed, I hugged him a little tighter, hoping to
provide a bit more comfort during the last difficult moments of his life.

I knew my father heard me when I thanked him for everything he gave to me and the entire
family. I know he felt the love, admiration, and respect I had for hm. My Dad was my hero.
A self-made man with the heart the size of Texas and a person who always put others ahead
of himself.

That was never more apparent during a visit I made to him about three weeks before his
death. I always came up from Rye, New York to see him on the weekends. One Saturday
afternoon he was at the kitchen table with the New York Times spread out in front of him.
I went over to see what he was reading and saw a bunch of circles in the classified section.

I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was looking for a job. I said, "Dad, you
don't need to work anymore."  He responded by saying something that nearly brought me
to my knees.

"I need to get a job so Mom is taken care of when I'm gone."

In the midst of his battle with Alzheimer's Disease, my father was thinking about the
well-being of others. That moment defined who Patrick Devlin was.

10 years after his death, I still think my father is going to come around the corner and give
me a big bear hug. When I'm in need of advice, I want to reach out to him and ask him what
I should do.

Man, if I just had 10 more minutes with Dad.

If I was granted a few extra moments with my father, I'd tell him that Mom has been a pillar
of strength since that fateful day in May a decade ago. It hasn't been easy, but Mom has
been amazing. Oh, she has her moments. As tough as she is, being alone as one gets older can
be a challenge. But Mom has never complained - instead she has been resilient, something
I know would make my Dad very proud.


I'd tell my Dad that he should be very proud of his daughter, Kara, and son, Patrick, who
followed his lead to become terrific parents. They've raised six remarkable kids, all of whom
inherited the a few character traits of their grandfather. Sergei, who is 12-years-old certainly
has my Dad's appetite and can crush a buffet with the best of them.



I'd tell my Dad how much I miss him. I'd tell him how correct he was in every piece of advice
that he gave me.

Most importantly, I'd tell my Dad how much I love him. You can never say that enough. Ever.





Friday, April 27, 2018

BRY-GUY: SELFIE KING TURNED CAFE MARTIN PITCHMAN


When it comes to selfies, Bryan Brennan is without equal. In a social media world polluted
with self-portraits, Brennan has managed to produce thousands of pictures of pure hilarity.
He can turn a frown into a smile with a simple picture and a post.


However, the Selfie King is proving that he's not a one-trick pony. The all-world photographer/
videographer who helped take NESN to a different level has morphed into a great pitchman.
Once obsessed with selfies, Brennan has devoted the last month calling on his friends, family
members and total strangers to purchase Café Martin baseball hats.


The baseball hats were produced to help promote the hottest spot in Boston and raise money
for John Martin, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. Brennan and Martin worked together
at NESN where they formed a special and unbreakable bond. Brennan and Martin, along with
Pat Gamere, weren't just videographers, they were amazing storytellers who helped the talent
and network look good - damn good.


Brennan has taken to social media to promote the Café Martin baseball hat with more passion
and determination than the Kardashians do in promoting their talentless selves. He reached
out to those he knows and even the thousands he doesn't. He is posting creative shots of the
Café Martin hat all over Boston - mostly at Fenway Park.  Brennan has encouraged, pleaded,
and all but begged people to buy the Café Martin baseball hat.


I'm sure many out there had thoughts of blocking or defriending Brennan on all their social
media vehicles, but the drive and determination of Brennan has paid off. As of this writing,
the Café Martin campaign has sold 210 hats and raised more than $4,000 for Martin's battle
with ALS. It was all possible because of Brennan's drive, commitment and love for Martin
and his family

Brennan, Martin, and Gamere were the three amigos at NESN - their dedication, commitment,
and passion for the jobs and network was off-the-charts. They are the best at what they do.
However, their talent is only surpassed by their friendship. They are as thick as thieves, forming
a friendship that can't be accurately measured or described. It's a beautiful thing to see.


Brennan's salesmanship is also pretty damn special. In a world of self-promoters, Brennan
has expended a great amount of time and energy promoting a great cause and the franchise
that is Café Martin.

Thank you, Bry-Guy, you're a helluva man.

Bill Titus, the Godfather of cameramen in Boston has also been a big help in promoting the
Café Martin hats. We had to make a special order to get a hat that fit Bill's dome and he loves
it. Bill has been in John's corner from day one and has to done a lot to make sure everybody
knows about Café Martin and what a great man John is.



Oh, yeah, Bryan and Bill wanted me to pass along the link so y'all can buy some more hats
to help out John Martin in his battle vs. ALS

https://www.customink.com/fundraising/jpm-legend?ref


Monday, March 19, 2018

WHITNEY GRUMMON: A BRIGHT LIGHT GONE FAR TOO SOON





Only the good die young.
                       
                                             -Billy Joel


Whitney Grummon was too sweet, too pretty, and just too damn good. Oh, sure, Whitney
had a bit of a wild side and was a free-spirit who spoke her mind, but she was a bright
light to all those who knew her during her days at New Canaan High School.

Unfortunately, she has left us far too soon. Whitney passed away recently after a brief battle 
with melanoma.

She was just 53-years-old. 

I met Whitney shortly after moving to New Canaan as a sophomore and we were both
part of the Class of 1982. She was a natural beauty with the high-cheekbones of a cover
girl and near perfect teeth that ignited her mega-watt smile. Whitney never called me by
my first name. It was just "Hey, Devlin," which always gave me a chuckle. Every
guy wanted Whitney to be their prom date. Every girl wanted her to be their best friend.

She was smart, funny, and someone who made a lasting impression on all the people she
came across. I never saw or heard much about Whitney after graduation. She had gone off
to the University of Colorado and that was pretty much all I knew until I ran into
her sister, Wilder, in Atlanta several years ago.

When I asked about Whitney, she told me our former classmate was out west teaching
English in high school. And teach she did.


Since 2010, Whitney was at Carmel High School in Aptos, California. She was the Chair
of the English department and the girls soccer coach, as well.

"I was drawn to the teaching profession because I wanted to help other people find their voice
and to articulate what they feel is important, " Whitney told Jaydon Zimmerman of The
Carmel Sandpiper during an interview in 2014.

Whitney was named Mentor of the Year as well as Teacher of the Year at Carmel High
School. She had an impact on nearly every one she came across.

"She takes everyone under her wing and treats everyone with the same kind-hearted
compassion and understanding," Olivia Doskey Mulvaney, a former student and a member
of the girls soccer team said about Whitney in 2014. "She's not only a mentor or teacher or
coach to her kids, she's a mother who cares about all aspects of their lives and wants to
help them grow and learn."

Whitney, right, and sister, Wilder.

Whitney's death has shaken Carmel High School as well as the entire New Canaan community.

Whitney LeGard Williams wrote in a Facebook post to Whitney's mother, Margot:

I moved to New Canaan in 10th grade and having the name Whitney had always been
a burden to me. No one knew what my name was. I had never met another until NCHS.
Your Whitney was so kind to me when others were not. I'll always remember her warm
smile and beautiful spirit. She was a good person and I think that while the rest of us
lost a bright light, heaven gained a good soul.

Steve Tonra, a good friend and classmate of Whitney remembers her as "smart, funny, fun,
beautiful -no drama and no BS."

Whitney was a beautiful person who touched so many lives. She was like a comet shooting
through the sky. Spectacular, but gone too soon. Everyone who saw and met her, will
never forget Whitney Grummon.

Good-bye, Whitney, you will be missed.