Who says individuals can’t make a difference? Many of you, Dogsters I haven’t even had the honor of having met in person, are making the difference in the lives of dogs, cats and humans. Here’s a letter from the brother of one such human who is one of those we all can help, if only with a good thought.
As you probably read in a recent post, Michael Keenan ran into a burning building to save the life of 10-year-old Jack Russell Terrier Bobby. Michael and Bobby are still in serious condition but many of you have stepped up to help out however you could. Dogster may be a really, really big pack but we remember the meaning of that word as we help out those who need us. This is a letter from Michael’s brother Jim.
Humbled & Hopeful
Along the way, you experience things. Most come and go without notice. A few leave a small imprint on your personality. And then, maybe, you experience something that wakes you up from your conscious sleep and alters your thinking, your outlook and, perhaps, your life. It tells you something about who you are and who you hope to be.
On February 6, 2007 a total stranger called and informed me that my brother, Michael, had been badly burned in a fire in San Francisco . That night my wife, Carla, and I drove from Maine to one of my sisters houses outside of Boston and, after 3 restless hours of sleep, took the first flight out of Logan . Approximately 12 hours later, Carla and I walked into San Francisco General Hospitals 4E ICU and looked at what I was told was my brothers face. Although we mustered words of encouragement, we were looking at a nightmare. Badly burned, heavily sedated and chemically paralyzed, Michael was fighting for his life. Then, as we stood there stumbling for words, looking right at Michaels face, Carla said, hes going to be ok.” When I looked up at her, I knew she meant it, and I knew she was right. I love my wife.
Leaving the ICU I knew Michael was going to survive, but I had no idea how he was going to live and then I met his family none of whom are related by blood. When I tell you that Michael has friends, you dont understand what I am saying to you. Michael has a network of friends that humble you. Their unity, their openness, their energy and, above all else, their love for my brother is staggering. My brother is an artist and his worldly possessions fit inside the trunk of a car. That being said, as I sipped beers with his friends from all over the country after visiting hours, I couldnt help but wonder why friendship wasnt a measure of a mans success.
With the Herculean effort of his friends, my brothers story was publicized, his team was mobilized and his support efforts were formalized. About 12 hours later the story went national and The Michael J. Keenan Support Fund began receiving donations from total strangers as much as anything, they seemed to want to support what Michael represents. I cannot properly express my humility and thanks.
Michael is still deep inside the woods, but he will find his way. When he emerges, perhaps weeks from now, I will be there, and I will certainly not be alone. The tribe will be gathered, and they will be ready. I hope that others will join us if for no other reason than to celebrate friendship, another and better way to measure a persons success.
Humbled & Hopeful,