The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce honored several of its own and heard a speaker who simply is a rare man in modern sports.
Chris Spielman's name brings forth for Ohioans memories of gridiron glory in the crimson and gray of Ohio State, as well as tough play for the Detroit Lions, the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns.
There also are memories of a linebacker with a heart, who took a season off to aid his wife as she dealt with breast cancer, and of a tough man who fought back from a spinal injury to play again, a rarity for high-contact defensive players.
Monday night, Spielman helped attendees understand what Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October is all about. He described what happened in his heart and soul and mind as his beloved high school sweetheart, the mother of their children, the love of his life suffered, fought back, suffered some more, fought back again and eventually lost a long battle with cancer.
He provided the proper backdrop to the community-minded group that fights the odds and the view of some of our own citizens to open the doors every day, try hard to do a good job and pledge to take care of their employees, their families and the community at large.
Spielman talks from a place where anyone who has truly faced a crisis of identity and existence and love and family can understand. And, he reminds everyone that from the response to that crisis one can draw strength, wisdom and the grace of God.
The chamber has provided many examples of inspirational speakers through the years, but we especially salute the group that chose to bring Spielman's message of hope and healing through pain and crisis.
It is all a matter of choice and attitude, and communities, too, can make such choices, one person, one business at a time.