That yellowing column, along with the one marking my fifth anniversary, are framed and on display in my office reception area.
This one, marking my tenth, is soon to join them.
It was a former Capital News advertising consultant, Lori Welbourne, who encouraged me to “audition” for a weekly column by submitting a few samples.
I had never conceived of being a columnist, but felt I had a lot to say about “achieving justice” in the work I do as a personal injury lawyer, so I took up the challenge.
I am so very thankful, and esteemed, that Barry Gerding (former managing editor) and Al Waters (assistant editor) have found sufficient value in my column to publish it over the years. I recognize the privilege of such a respected “soap box” from which to share my ideas and opinions.
If I continue to make the cut, now with a new managing editor, Kevin Parnell, I will continue to embrace that privilege.
There has been a gradual shift of focus over the over 500 columns I’ve written. Road safety topics surfaced early on, and I announced my “One Crash is Too Many” campaign with my fifth anniversary column.
I regularly use this soap box to share the reality that car crashes are almost entirely preventable. The deceptively simple answer is for us, the driving public, to give driving the same level of care and attention that we give to other activities that can result in serious injuries and death.
Am I making a difference? I trust that even the drip, drip, drip of water can add up. I was encouraged by one reader who e-mailed me a few months ago, her e-mail starting with:
“I would like to inform you about the tremendous positive impact you have had on my driving behaviour and that of my husband”.
As much as being a columnist is a privilege, it does come with work. Each column takes me about 2-3 hours. Over the last 10 years, that’s the equivalent of more than 7 months of 40 hour weeks. I am thankful to my wife, Terri, and my three children, who have tolerated the time this passion of mine takes.
After my first year, I marvelled that I managed to come up with so many topics to write about. Coming up with a new topic every week continues to be an exercise, but I now know that topics will continue to come. I can always use the help, though, so please e-mail me if there is a legal or road safety topic you would like addressed.
I have never “recycled” a column, and invite anyone interested to go to my web page where a complete archive of all 500 plus columns can be found.
I wish all of you a safe and happy 2017. With your help, this can be an especially good year for justice and road safety.