A Brief Atlanta Visit

Today I returned to Atlanta for a brief visit.  I had planned to do so several weeks ago to make a hospital visit, spend a few days with friends, and get a little R&R.  The previously planned trip fell apart, so I had to settle for the overnight version.

The hospital visit was at Shepherd Spinal Center, where I was privileged to meet a remarkable man.  PA State Trooper Brad Wilson was shot twice in the line of duty last August.  The bullets lodged against his spine in such a way that they can’t be removed and Trooper Wilson is now quadriplegic.  Our mutual friend, Pastor Guy Felmlee, had called to tell me the story and to express his concern.  We agreed that if I were in Atlanta anytime soon, I would visit.

Trooper Wilson has faced death every day since the shooting, not just from major and complex surgeries, but from things as mundane as mucus collecting in his throat with sufficient diaphragm strength to expel it.  But he faces it all with stoic resolve.  He was doing his job.  He has no regrets.  Does he hate the man who shot him?  No, he said matter-of-factly, hate is pointless.  Is he bitter that his life is so drastically altered 18 months shy of retirement?  No, it is what it is and he needs to focus his energies on recovery.  Is he angry with God?  No, he is still alive when he should have died.

I left feeling honored to have met him spent time with him.  If he’s still in Atlanta in May, I hope to see him again.

While in Atlanta, I spoke briefly to several friends with whom I practiced law at Fain, Major & Wiley.  Kim White and her husband Jim were good friends while we lived in Atlanta.  She is now a principle in a business that collects and disseminates information on settlements to help lawyers properly evaluate their cases.  Gary Powell left the practice to publish a magazine with his wife Tia.  Roger Orlando has a very successful plaintiff’s practice.  He was really excited, thinking that I must be calling because I had seen him as he appeared on a recent edition of Judge Judy.  Chris Penna was the senior associate at FM&W, and a great mentor to many of us “newnans.”  I learned that Chris recently married a couple of years ago, and I do hope I have the pleasure of seeing him soon and meeting his wife.

I had hoped to meet Gary and his son, Milo, for dinner, but it didn’t work out.  Instead I had an impromptu dinner with Anne and Marty Emanuel.  She was a wonderful law professor for whom we named our daughter.  I also had the joy of meeting their 7-week-old grandson, Theo.

Then it was off to spend the night with friends Bill and Sheila Dixon.  Bill was a classmate and study group partner in law school.  He has been with the SEC for 20 years now.  It’s always fun to catch up with them and to enjoy their hospitality.  They’re unlike me in so many ways, very urban, very cosmopolitan … and yet the bonds of friendship run so deep.

Wonderful, wonderful friends.  I would be blessed to know any one of them.  To know them all, to call them friends … how blessed am I?

gkr1996 posted at 2014-3-14 Category: Personal