Our thoughts and prayers go out to Senator Ted Kennedy and his family. He is a great man who has done many great things for our country, most notably fighting for the disabled and the uninsured. I've always admired him, and he's left an indelible mark on my life and my family.
When I was 10, my family was his guest at the Capitol. We were in D.C. visiting relatives and my Dad had called and made an appointment for us to visit with him. It wasn't long after his plane crash, and Ted was still on crutches and obviously in pain, but he took time to show us around the Capitol, and made a point to let us know that as his constituents we were always welcome to visit.
He took us into the Senate chambers and explained the proceedings to us as we watched. He made a huge impression on me as he told me how things worked and how important the work being done there was. It was a truly remarkable experience for me.
He influenced my wife in much the same way. She interviewed him as a teen reporter on the show "For Kids Only" on WBZ-TV with Bruce Schwoegler, and he made a lasting impression, sparking her interest in politics and government.
Later in life, when I was a reckless teen, Ted affected my life in a much larger way. I had been in a car accident out of state and suffered massive internal injuries. Truth be told, there wasn't a lot of hope for me.
I had graduated from high school, so I had come off of my father's insurance, but I wasn't gainfully employed and had no insurance of my own. My parents had gotten me flown back home in hopes of getting me into one of the major hospitals here in Boston, but with no insurance, that just wasn't happening. I ended up in New England Memorial in Stoneham, and within a couple of days the doctors there told my parents that there wasn't anything more they could do for me.
A friend of the family called Ted's office and explained the situation, and that same afternoon the State Police came and escorted me to the New England Baptist Hospital and delivered me into the care of one of the most amazing and talented liver surgeons in the country, Dr. Kenneth Warren. The rest, as they say, is history.
Without Ted's intervention, I wouldn't have made it. Children, grandchildren, none of that would have happened.
And who was I?
Just some constituent.
God bless you and your family Senator Kennedy. We know you'll fight the good fight, and we know you have the will and determination to beat this.