Monday, March 27, 2017

We Can All Be Replaced...or Can We?

A Family Competition: Well, in the Brown family Half Marathon challenge, I was able to take the "trophy" back from my older son Ben (21 years old) by edging him in the Syracuse Half Marathon yesterday by three minutes. Last year he got me by seven minutes. Most rational people would do a best out of three, but I am sure he and I will be going head to head until I can't walk anymore. The MUCH more important thing is spending time with the kids. I wouldn't trade it for anything and if I have to run, play basketball, video games, go to a concert, play golf, or work to keep the annual family vacation happening; count me in!

A Fad that Leaves Scars: I was reminded about an interesting game that middle and high school students in our District started, and luckily ended playing quickly about two years ago, called the "eraser challenge". Students take an eraser and rub it back and forth on their skin until they can't take it anymore and the person with the largest and deepest burn wins.

I am hopeful that the recent articles do not cause our students to try that again. Once was enough. The eraser challenge is not safe. It can cause open wounds that you and I know won't be taken care of well by teenagers. The results can also leave a scar. If your child has these marks on their arms, please tell them to stop and alert your building principal. Again, we have been there and done that, and I would like to not go there again. Thanks for your help on this.

Our Community Loses a Leader and Friend: Tonight we will be recognizing students as they are inducted into the National Honor Society. The pillars of the National Honor Society are leadership, character, scholarship, and service. A person who has exemplified these characteristics since he and his wife Cheryl opened the Town Shop in 1970 in the Village of Camillus, was Dave Vermilya. I say "was" because he passed away last Friday evening from a short illness.

I had been worried for some time about what the community was going to do when he finally decided to retire (his wife retired a few years back and that was challenging enough) and he never got the opportunity to get time to himself.  Dave worked with thousands of youth over his career. His leadership came in the form of running the Town Shop, a "home", if you will, for young men and women looking for a place to hang out, for direction, for some guidance, and in many cases for kindness that was missing at home. His scholarship could be seen in his willingness to be a life long learner, always keeping up with what kids of "today" were interested in. His service needs no words. Lastly, his character appeared in everything he did. He is the ultimate example of someone who did the right thing when people weren't watching.

Growing up, I was raised to understand that no matter how good you were at doing something, you are always replaceable, so it is important to stay humble. David's passing challenges that ideal. I just do not know how he will ever be replaced, but he absolutely needs to be; because he would want it that way. The challenge will be finding the right person. Hopefully he is watching from somewhere and will help to guide that process. Rest in peace Dave Vermilya, our community lost a pioneer, leader, and friend. I will relay memorial information via our social media platforms as soon as I hear something.

Thank you for reading and take care.