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Carol Perkins: The measure of a man

'Dakota Meyer: The world is amazed and happy, but we Kentuckians are pumped up with pride.' -CAROL PERKINS
The next earlier Carol Perkins column: Calamity at the Checkout Counter

By Carol Perkins

The measure of a man is in his actions and not his words. Dakota Meyer is a man of great measure. Although we sometimes feel this world is short on men like him, I am positive great ones surround us but we may never know their heroic deeds.

Dakota Meyer acted unselfishly and valiantly and in disobeying an order, he acted with no concern for his own future. When he said, "I didn't wonder if I would die, but wondered when I would die," I thought about young men his age and wondered how many would have done the same.

Although I had watched many of the newscasts of the presentation, I had not listened to him until he was on The David Letterman Show. Not only is he very well spoken and obviously intelligent, but he is also extremely witty. He had the biggest laugh of the night when he said he asked the President for advice as they were sharing a beer in the rose garden, and the President replied for him not to make any rash decisions! Two great wits met. The world is amazed and happy, but we Kentuckians are pumped up with pride.

Just when I think I have heard every great deed he did, I learn on the news that the Mayor of New York was going to waive the cut off time for acceptance into the NYC Fire Department training just for him, but Dakota said, "I appreciate the offer, but I don't think that would be fair to the others who would like to be in, too." How many would have given up special treatment? If they were in the same league as this man, they would have.

The measure of a man can be tested in the smallest ways, too. Not long ago, another story developed that I won't reveal the person because he would be embarrassed. He was in the school parking lot, seeking out a teacher to sign his progress report for his cross-country team and for some reason, he looked down and spotted a ring. Although it was beaten up, he could see a year and the initials inside and with the "s-i-t-y" still readable, he identified it as a college ring. "I knew someone would be glad to get this back," he said, so he went to the office and asked the secretary to print out a list of teachers, thinking he would start there in an attempt to locate the owner.

As he scanned the list, he saw the first two initials (she had married) and her age would have been right for the ring. When he went to her classroom, he said, "Would you have lost a ring?" She broke down and sobbed when he showed it to her. Not only had she not remembered where she lost it, she didn't even know when so had no clue where to begin to look for it.

"I wore my wedding band with the ring because it was too large, and I have lost it too." He told her to give him a minute while he went back to the spot, looked around, and there within a few feet was that wedding band. How many high school seniors would have gone to this much trouble?

Later, she texted him with a host of compliments and assured him that if he ever needed a college reference or any kind of recommendation, she would be honored. A measure of a man is often seen in every day events that can become monumental to others.

Actually, he and Dakota have something in common other than their integrity. Just as a recruiter challenged him, a recruiter is "after" this young man to enlist in the Air Force after high school. I wonder what advice Dakota would have for him? CAROL PERKINS

This story was posted on 2011-10-02 08:16:04
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