Art’s Speech for the Banquet – January 20, 2001

Art’s Speech for the Banquet – January 20, 2001

I remember the day I first heard about this banquet dinner thing. I was in a lot of back pain and generally was not having a good day. Late in the afternoon my good friend and webmaster Patrick sent me an e-mail trying to cheer me up talking about some benefit dinner they are conjuring up for me and how loved I am. I didn’t think much of it. Well, now I have and I do. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love that has gone into this dinner, all simply for me. It overwhelms me all the time. I can’t understand and fathom this all. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. I haven’t seen many of you in years. All I know is that I am one blessed guy.

A year ago at this time I never envisioned all of this. Heck six months I wouldn’t have envisioned all of this. I do know that what I prayed has come true.

It was a blustery day, January 9th. I was enjoying a huge cup of tea at the Barnes and Noble in Boardman reading my Bible when it hit me after reading about many of the Old and New Testament leaders that they all had a singular connection. They had all gone through hard times at some point to test their faith and make them become the strong leaders they were. It was then that I wrote in the margins in my Bible on the last page of Genesis, “..Keeping the faith in the hard times is difficult, but eventually God will reward us, all great biblical leaders went through hard times to strengthen their faith. I will too. I want to be God’s leader.”

A month later I was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s and the rest is all history (or at least documented on my website,

I don’t know what kind of leader I am going to be. Last year at this time I was content with getting PhD in management, finding a small little college and teaching the rest of my life. Now I realize I have been given a gift that I must use. Not many 22 year olds have been through what I have.

I want to use it for good, to help people, to give them hope, and to lead.

My aspiration in high school was to be President of the United States.

Somewhere along college I lost that idea. Well who knows now?

Through it all I have learned so many lessons, rekindled so many friendships, and have had major personality and life changes that will forever stick. All I can say is thank you for all of your support for my family and me. It has been amazing to see how a community can come together. I only wish someday I can repay you all for your emails, kind words, cards and prayers.

I continually will pray for you all, knowing that God is listening and answering. Thank you all so much. I will see you all soon. I love you all.


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