The American Heritage College Dictionary defines a hero as “a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life; a person noted for special achievement in a particular field.”
I can describe a hero in fewer words: Pat Boyd Sr.
Coach Boyd fits the dictionary description of a hero very well. Although he did not risk his life for sports, he dedicated his life to athletics, first to football as a player at Central Michigan University, and then to wrestling as a coach. He is certainly noted for special achievement in his field as the man who initiated the wrestling program at Lakeview High School some 50 years ago and served as a coach, mentor and hero to hundreds of student athletes.
Pat Boyd Sr. not only introduced wrestling to Lakeview High School, he defined this rigorous and disciplined sport to an entire generation of students. He spent hours and hours of his time and so much of his energy as he molded young men into superb athletes. He not only demanded respect, he commanded it, earning the admiration of his wrestlers by being a teacher and a friend. He was instrumental in helping each of us reach our full potential.
One of the main lessons Coach Boyd taught us is that our learned lessons should be shared with others. He was our mentor, sharing his experience with us, and thus instilling in his athletes the desire to be mentors to younger people. I have used what I learned in the college of Coach Boyd for gain in the athletic arena as a wrestler, and today share those lessons with others. What he taught me in wrestling, I have taught as a volunteer wrestling coach at Lakeview.
Now, as a state representative, I have the ability to mentor young people in Montcalm and Gratiot counties. I read at local schools to try to instill a love of books in students throughout the 70th House District. I am honored to speak at schools about how state government works and the huge role residents of our communities play in government. I have had the unbelievable opportunity to represent the voices of our neighborhoods as the House and Senate enact legislation that has helped to make Michigan the comeback state.
I am sure each of us has a Coach Boyd who has impacted our lives to the point where we want to give back to the community. Maybe it’s time to act on that, if you have not already done so.
January was Michigan Mentoring Month. Gov. Snyder announced that in addition to commending the efforts of our mentors, we also should consider lending our own life lessons to become mentors for the next generation of Michiganders. Take an active role in mentoring by contacting Mentor Michigan by going to www.michigan.gov/mentormichigan. Or consider giving your time and experience to organizations that benefit and help mold the next mentors. Perhaps start by finding out if your local school district has a mentoring program, where you can become a role model in the classroom. Maybe if you were a student athlete you can share your knowledge of a sport as a volunteer coach.
Even though Mentoring Month passed by, it doesn’t mean you cannot lend your talents to others on a year-round basis. Look into mentoring opportunities and become a Pat Boyd Sr. to someone, and continue the tradition of community involvement to a new generation of mentors.
State Rep. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, represents the 70th House District. He can be reached at (855) 688-6267, RickOutman@house.mi.gov or at www.reprickoutman.com.
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