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Two men who made a difference in many lives

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm

There were many heavy hearts both throughout the world and right here in Troy last week with the deaths of two men, men who made a difference in the lives of those they touched. One was Nelson Mandela and the other was Greg Mix.

Nelson Mandela, after being imprisoned for 27 years, emerged from years living in his 6×6 prison cell, to help rid South Africa from the white majority rule ‘apartheid’ form of government. Although he had every right to choose a militant stance, he chose a path of reconciliation providing a healing between the white rulers and ethnic minorities. He rose to become that country’s first minority president. I am fortunate to have visited South Africa back in 2006 where I learned much more and saw a lot of the information being shared. I visited Robben Island, heard from a political prisoner housed at the same time of Mandela. He shared the hardships encountered and how Mandela grew and didn’t allow animosity to enter in. The attendance of world leaders at his public service last week attested to his place in world history.

This community, especially our young people, led in the respect for Mr. Mix. It was they who launched the #TheMixMovement as a way to support him like he always supported them. This gesture gained steam in the last month as this local educator fought bravely against the prisoner contained within his body – pancreatic cancer. Pictures and entries into the various social media began to circulate through not only this area but across the nation. Former students were part of this special movement. Youth can not be fooled. They appreciated his efforts to teach them and reach out to them. They led the initiative to ‘pay it forward’ to a man who touched their lives. More and more stories poured in about Mix and all came from the heart on how he made a difference. We all can make a difference in someone’s life if we do it for the right reasons. Goodbye Mandela and Mr. Mix. You lived special lives and many will continue to benefit from your dedication and spirit.

By Bob Simmons