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A hope note

I met him our first week of college. He was from Texas, and I was from Tennessee. We lived on the same dormitory floor and became good friends.
He was gregarious, made good grades, was athletic ‘ a well-rounded high achiever. Our senior year he married one of the prettiest girls on campus.
We went our separate ways, and I lost track of him. Years later, I read that he had earned a doctorate and was excelling in the field of counseling. Then a few years later, I was mildly shocked to learn that my college friend had made president of our alma mater.
He is now in his 15th year as president and has taken the private school of 4,800 students to new heights.
Today I learned something from an article, titled ‘My Brother’s Keeper,’ in the university’s magazine that I haven’t been able to get off my mind. He has one brother, nine years younger than he. His brother suffered brain damage at birth and has been profoundly retarded all his life. His mental functioning is that of a two-year-old.
The two brothers’ parents both died in the last few years, and my old college friend now has sole responsibility for his little brother. He visits him regularly, as he has ever since our first week of college. I always knew he had a younger brother, but I never knew the rest of the story.
I think of all the quiet heroes out there who carry heavy loads over the long haul without calling attention to themselves, never selling courage to buy sympathy. They do it because conscience tells them it’s the right thing, and heart tells them love is the greatest thing.
Happy Valentine’s Day.