Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Tonight I had the pleasure of attending the "2007 Oklahoma Citizenship Award Dinner" which was hosted by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs ( This annual event showcases the concept of "citizenship" via an essay contest for students with $12,000 in prize money awarded for winning essays and the "Will Rogers Award" given to the citizenship award winner.

This year's winner was former astronaut/entrepreneur/former military advisor General Thomas Stafford - a native of Oklahoma. Following his acceptance speech the keynote address was given by Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College ( who delivered an excellent speech regarding the the importance of Americans understanding the US Constitution. I share Dr. Arnn's reflections on the heroic leadership qualities of President George Washington but do not share his admiration for Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since Churchill was a die hard imperialist -- no champion of the kind of freedom I want to enjoy.

Tonight's speech on leadership qualities and heroic qualities reminded me of the USA Today story I read yesterday -- "An amazing story of giving that could change our world" -- by DeWayne Wickham. Wickham's article was focused on multi-millionaire/philanthropist/social entrepreneur (my description) -- Harris Rosen of Orlando, Florida.

Mr. Rosen has invested his personal wealth into a very poor and dangerous unincorporated community near Orlando called "Tangelo Park" which includes free pre-school education for 2, 3, and 4 year old children and a free college education for all high school graduates of Tangelo Park.

Since Mr. Rosen's program for Tangelo Park started crime has "dropped 67% and the area's high school dropout rate fell from 25% to 6%." Overall Mr. Rosen has spent $7 million working to improve Tangelo Park so he has called on his fellow wealthy Americans to spend their own funds in their own communities just like he has done. The motivation for cleaning up his own "back yard" is driven by his world view -- ONE THAT I SHARE TOTALLY -- which is noted in this quote from Mr. Rosen:

"Government is just too dense, too stupid, too inept to do this (project). If Oprah came down here and saw what we're doing, she would do it somewhere. If I could get NBA Commissioner David Stern to come here, I think he would get every NBA team involved in a project like ours in their cities."

Now that makes a lot of sense - especially for the NBA, not only for public relations purposes but to improve the neighborhoods and build the fan base around their downtown stadiums.

The world needs heroes,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...