By: Resource and Development Coordinator Ray Sophie, Southern Illinois ’08
Most people would have been content to leave it at that. Most people would have sat patiently in the trolley waiting for the ambulance to move so that they could get home and go to sleep. Most people would have avoided forming a short-term relationship with a patriot.
Phi Tau has called me to step outside of “most people” and be someone different. Let me explain …
On my way back from a great meeting with a BOG member, I hopped a trolley home due to the piercing cold of the Mississippi wind. I couldn’t have asked for a better trolley driver.
Amos and I sat in the trolley for more than 30 minutes waiting for the ambulance in front of us to make a move and clear the tracks. During that time, I learned that Amos served our country as a naval officer for more than 20 years and was in Biloxi and southern Mississippi for both Hurricane Katrina AND the BP oil spill. Amos also served two terms in Iraq, including a stint in Fallujah during the worst parts of the war, living in a bunker and building landing strips for our planes.
Hopping off the trolley, my thoughts turned to Amos and the thousands of veterans like him who live quiet lives of heroes and go unnoticed in the fabric of American society. My respect for veterans has always run deep and after meeting Amos, those thoughts have only solidified into awe.
I guess my point in this story is that the people we pass by every day are some of the most extraordinary people in American history. Who do you pass every day? Is he a war hero? Is she a high school phenom? Maybe that person has experienced the greatest hardships life has to offer.
Unfortunately, “most people” will never know of a stranger’s exploits.
As you all head into the thick of spring recruitment, take some time to get to know regular people. Whether it’s someone new in your class or your neighbor in the dorm or apartment complex, I challenge you to learn more about him.
He may be just another ordinary guy living an ordinary life. Or his ordinary might be extraordinary. You won’t know until you ask.