The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

Do you know amazing people? – Continued

When I had made my original post about amazing people I know, you will note I had mentioned my dad being in the hospital. Well most of you may not know, unless you really dig my archive to when I first started this blog, what may be wrong, and why he was in the hospital.


My dad is an amazing person, at least for the times I can remember we did things together. He was an iron worker, and worked for several years at Keystone Foundry, located actually right behind my house. (Not any more.) He set molds and poured cast-iron to make all things imaginable. I still have many of his cast-iron eagles, dogs and cats around the house.

He worked with cars doing bodywork, painting, and repair running a garage out back. Along with other members of the family, cars and racing where a weekly thing. I never picked up this love of auto-mechanics, welding and bodywork, or really auto racing for that matter.

He’s an outdoorsman. Always hunting or fishing. – This past hunting season he bagged an 8-point buck, the sucker was 175lbs dressed! – Dad did take me fishing, and I can recall the time I actually managed to catch more fish then him; he was a bit irritated, it seemed before he could get his own line set, I was yelling “Got another one…“, and sure enough I did.

Dad even taught me how to shoot. With a 30-30, and a 3 to 9 scope, I was not too bad a shot, considering at the time I didn’t even wear glasses. Kind of, like how I do my photography now, with magnification, I can see fairly well.

Even amazing people have their flaws.

Mom and dad got divorced when I was about 9 or so, and though he took me hunting and fishing, he was not always there. He was not always there for different events like band concerts, school awards or one of my first judo matches. He didn’t pay for my trumpet, didn’t buy my judo uniforms, or help pay for my classes. But I still love him, he’s my dad.

Now how ever, he’s fighting a battle even I can’t help him win.

On October 31st, 2008, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal lung cancer. – To be continued…

This post was inspired by Ellen, from “To The Max“, and her birth story of little Max.

  • Filed under: Personal
  • The amazing SpongeBob!

    Well only fitting I post about amazing people I know, and then receive this months “Companion“, newsletter from Canine Companions for Independence. Who do I spy? Why it’s Cole, and Tom Kenny aka “SpongeBob SquarePants” with Cole as director for the new Hearing Dog Public Service Announcement for CCI.

    Cole and Tom Kenny - "Spongebob"

    From Canine Companions e-News:

    CCI graduate Cole, featured in our Skilled Companion Public Service Announcement, had the great opportunity of directing Tom during a recording session! CCI wishes to extend a special thank you to Tom Kenny and everyone at DG Entertainment for all their support.

    Great job Mr. Director Cole!

    Canine Companions for Independence, CCI, provides highly-trained assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities, FREE OF CHARGE. Visit or call 1-800-572-BARK, for more information, to donate, or apply for your own dog! CCI is one of the oldest service dog companies in the USA!

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  • Filed under: News
  • Do you know amazing people?

    Six Degrees of SeparationI was speaking to my dad tonight after he got home from the hospital.

    I had went to visit him this past weekend, and while I was there I gave him a photo of my friend Dr. Andre Watson, and myself, a photo that was taken at the Pennsylvania State Judo Championships… But, I had forgotten to write the information on the back of the photo for dad. So he had called tonight to tell me he was home, and ask for the information.

    After telling him about Andre, he mentioned how nice it is that I know such people, and how he wishes he could meet Andre some day. I really thought nothing of it till now, but I really do know some amazing people.

    You see, my friend Dr. Andre Watson, is a black belt in judo, and a member of the US Paralympic Blind Judo Team. He fought in the 2008 Paralympic Summer Games, and Parapan American Games, visited many countries including Brazil, China, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and many states in the USA. He’s received his master’s and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from Widener University. – He’s blind…

    Rich (Left) and Dr. Andre Watson (Right)

    I think that qualifies as amazing. Don’t you?

    I can think of a few other people I happen to know. Because of Andre, I also know Marc Vink, Paralympic Judo Team Leader, and Heidi Moore, Director of Judo Development for the US Association of Blind Athletes.

    I can also think of some people who truly inspire me. Elaine, my Orientation and Mobility instructor; she has dedicated her life to helping people like me, who cannot see well to get around safe.

    My first judo instructor Dr. Frank Heifer, who just happened to be the superintendent of our school, back when I first started judo, and many other teachers in the school system that happened to also be judo black belts, that until I started judo, I did not know where black belts.

    Other friends such as Cole Massie and Skilled Companion Ilia, and their family who inspire me to keep working hard no matter what. Who shared the most private parts of their lives as a family and a child with a disability on national television. Whose service dog won the 2008 ASPCA Dog of the Year, and as a family won the 2009 Honda Helpful Award. He’s helped inspire the writing of this blog, and me to seek orientation and mobility training to become an independent traveler.

    Yea, I do know some amazing people!

    So, who do you know? A teacher, doctor, son, service person? Who are the people who inspire you, and are the amazing people you call friends… Blog it! And share your story…

    Hell, I’m a legally blind photographer, and a black belt in judo myself. Do I inspire any one? Let me know!

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  • Filed under: Personal