Sunday, July 05, 2009

Things That Make You Go "Wow!"

Sometimes my usually optimistic world view needs a boost, and this article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave me just the little jolt I needed.

It was the second blood donation for the Mauser twins of Apple Valley, who turned 17 in January. Last year, they joined more than 4,000 Minnesota 16-year-olds who have given blood since a law that took effect last July lowered the donation age from 17. ...

The driving force behind the law was then 15-year-old Joe Gibson, of Blooming Prairie, Minn., who was turned away from his high school blood drive because of his age.

"Some of the people donating were 60-, 70-year-olds -- 100-pound elderly people," Gibson said. "And, hey, I'm 160 pounds, and I run five miles a day, I'm in great shape. Why can't I donate?"

After discovering that other states had lowered the age to 16, Gibson talked to Minnesota Rep. Patti Fritz, DFL-Faribault, who sponsored the bill. It passed both houses unanimously, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed it.

Since it took effect, 3,790 16-year-old Minnesotans have donated blood to the American Red Cross, and 1,200 to Memorial Blood Center of Minnesota -- an outpouring even Gibson didn't expect.

"We opened the door, but it was the youth that walked through and made it special," said Gibson, or Blood Boy to his friends. "It's increased my faith in my generation."

It's also increased my faith in your generation, Mr. Gibson.

Think about it. Not only did a teenager have the desire to contribute to his community in a very positive, life-affirming way, he also had the courage, energy, and good sense to use the political structure to effect the change that would allow him and thousands of other like-minded teenagers to make that contribution. What a civics lesson for the rest of us that is.

Eh, the kids are alright, even if their fashion sense is a little disturbing.

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