A Sigh or a Wish?

We try to bring in a variety of speakers to talk to the boys in assemblies about issues beyond UCC. Yesterday morning’s gathering featured two guests from Nova Scotia. Robert Hessian, who was so badly injured during a pick up hockey game that he was actually declared brain dead, was earnest and soft spoken as he told the miraculous story of his recovery.

Doug Raguse, our other guest, was also injured in a car accident, and his recovery is still very much a work in progress. He isn’t able to do much on his own. (The boys were perfectly quiet when David struggled to bring Doug to the stage for the presentation. It was a poignant moment.) Doug can neither walk nor talk, and he communicates by typing with one finger. As a result, he sat quietly on stage in Laidlaw Hall as David read a letter he had written for the occasion.

There are a lot of remarkable elements to the story of these two men, but what stays with me is Robert’s decision to spend the last decade of his life living with and working with Doug. Our boys sat quietly as he talked about a typical day, which starts with his rising each morning at 5 in order to help Doug start his daily regimen of exercises.

At UCC we are fortunate that we can bring in guests of a great variety of backgrounds and occupations to talk to our lads about globalism, economics, the environment, politics, and a host of other significant issues. What might stay with a boy from yesterday was one man’s decision to spend his life so completely and utterly in service to another. It’s not a model of manhood we often see so vividly on display.

As Don Kawasoe and I left the stage, the boys sang:

Farewell to Nova Scotia, your sea-bound coast

Let your mountains dark and dreary be

For when I am far away on the briny ocean tossed

Will you ever heave a sigh or a wish for me?

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