lessons from old country

Donna Shalala – Lessons from the Old Country

by Bernie Swain
I was a Kennedy Kid.  I was a nineteen-year-old sophomore at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio when John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960. JFK was young and charismatic, energetic and idealistic. In his inauguration speech in January 1961, he famously said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” I felt as if he was speaking directly to me, and I took his challenge to heart. Peace … Continue reading "Donna Shalala – Lessons from the Old Country"

Laurie Skreslet

John Amatt – Climbing Everest

by Bernie Swain
For over 30 years, John Amatt has led expeditions to remote regions of Northern Norway, Peru, Nepal, China, Greenland and has explored areas of the Arctic on six occasions, making many first ascents of previously unclimbed peaks. Climbing Everest soon became the ultimate goal, and John pulled together a Canadian team that would obtain achieve just that.   I grew up in England. My father was a bank executive, and my mother was a full-time homemaker. They were both conservative … Continue reading "John Amatt – Climbing Everest"

basketball coach killed

Aaron Thomas – The Life and Death of My Dad

by Bernie Swain
Aaron Thomas is the head basketball coach and athletic director at Aplington-Parkersburg High School in Iowa. In 2010, Aaron was awarded the Missouri Valley Conference Most Courageous Award, and he and his family were given the Espy’s Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. Sunday, May 25, 2008, began like most Sundays do in Parkersburg, Iowa - folks going to church, taking care of chores, and spending time with their families. My Dad, Ed Thomas, the football coach at Aplington-Parkersburg High School, … Continue reading "Aaron Thomas – The Life and Death of My Dad"

Every Day We Learn Something new

by Bernie Swain
“Every day, we learn something new.” It is a simple, unassuming bit of advice and one of hundreds of things we are told from time to time, but pay little attention to. And yet, it is the key to our wellbeing and fundamental to our quality of life. To my grandparents, it was second nature. When families gathered and friends met at the dinner table, the corner store or any time two or more of them got together, they told … Continue reading "Every Day We Learn Something new"

The Three Rules That Matter

by Bernie Swain
We all want to make a difference.  We all want to succeed in life. But how is that possible when our days (in fact our moments) are so filled with constant distractions of one sort or another?  I used to ask myself that kind of question nearly every day.  How can I make a difference?  How can I make the most of my life and the lives of those around me? Looking back, I found the answers.  I’ll share them … Continue reading "The Three Rules That Matter"