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2006-05-24 - 6:56 p.m.

In looking at my alumni web site I came across a link for alumni authors and found this about an old friend who is donating the proceeds of his book to a charity which provides college educational grants to children of fallen soldiers:

*Note you have to scroll WAY DOWN on that linked page to get to the book.

I'm not one to become emotional often but when I think of Joe Martin it is always with fondness and apprechiation that he was a true friend there for me in one of my greatest moments of need of a comforting friend. Reading this blurb about his book donations has made me cry. Joe Martin was such a steadfast friend who was so self assured and confident and just SO NOT NEEDY himself that he could be that pillar of strength and support when I needed it.

HE literally accompanyied me when I slept outside in the woods by myself under the stars camping ALONE while grieving the death of my roommate.

Joe FOLLOWED me-- and then asked if it was OK that he stay to ensure I was safe.

And then when I nodded through tears- he sat-- YARDS and YARDS AWAY to respect my great need for real time ALONE to grieve that is so hard to find in a college dorm, while close enough to be present to provide the comfort and support of someone who cared for me enough to be concerned for my safety.

I have thought of that moment before at times when asked questions such as "What is one of the best gifts a friend ever gave to you"

or "What is one of the best things a friend has ever done for you."

I personally was blessed to have such a compassionate and caring friend in Joe. He was secure enough to just not care about whatever anyone else thought. I was in need of my private space and time to grieve and literally PRAY that night that I too couldn't care less about what the other student on that weekend retreat for RA training thought. The facilitators trusted and knew Joe and I well enough that they allowed us to be adults and were not overly controlling and didn't insist that he nor I come in and didn't take issue with me going off for that time alone which I just So needed to be present and as involved in LIFE as it continued for the rest of us.

That night I cried, I sang, I prayed and Joe somehow had that AMAZING sensitivity and maturity to know just how to compassionately offer that support and allow me secure space to be alone. As I read the book he has written and the cause it is being donated for, I am not at all surprised that he continues to offer that special gift of compassion and support to those who have lost their loved ones. He indeed has a gift in that particular area!

Kathy Fiore died in a car accident just two weeks before we RAs returned to campus early to head off to our training at some local camp for a weekend. I know that experience and her life informed the lives of those she touched in so many ways. I believe that experience indeed is one which changed Joe Martin and perhaps offered him the opportunity to recognize this gift he has.

Its incredible to now think that he indeed is touching the lives of so many others in such a big way who are grieving and in need of that steady reassuring support that I am sure this foundation provides both mothers and/or fathers of children left behind by fallen soldiers.

It was always funny our group of friends. Joe and my good friend Sue often went to campus events along with me and my best friend date (the now attny) and we doubled a number of times. Both the guys ended up as brothers in a service fraternity, and there was Sue who ended up an INS office (which come to think of it so did my guy friend for a while before becoming the corporate merger acquisition lawyer) and then there was me who was more likely to be at a sit in protesting INS or volunteering at a refugee center... and Joe, Mr ROTC clean cut and crew cut conservative, and ironically the now attny had this actual disgruntled liberal pessimistic political view after having spent time in Germany for a while, and Sue was definately more a counter culture hippy type radio station chick who I spun records with a hung out with along with some dreamy poetry reading artsy folk. So we were this group of individuals who all just seemed SO DIFFERENT yet who really were good friends. I had some bumper sticker on my car in college that read something cynical about the CIA ... and some reference to lies...I forget the EXACT QUOTE along with another "Si quieres pax justica" " If you want peace fight for justice" which was a favorite quote of the Catholic Bishops involved in seeking social justice and in rememberance of Oscar Romaro.

IT was a fun lively group!

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