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Lasting Impressions

July 30, 2009
What events during your high school years left a lasting impression on you? Do you have moments that stand out in your mind? Recently I have had cause to remember one particular event from many years ago, that made a lasting impression on me.
My teenage passion

My teenage passion

As a teenager I was involved in a 4-H horse club. My horse was my passion and I spent every moment I could steal with my horse. My friends and I performed in local 4-H horse shows and every summer anxiously anticipated spending a week at the Upper Peninsula State Fair. There we would bunk with 4-H kids from all over the U.P., we would groom and care for our horses daily and participate in various exhibitions. It was the highlight of my summers. Then sometime in my junior year, our club leaders gave us devastating news, the horse clubs were going to be eliminated from the fair to make room for more dairy cattle. No horses? How could this be? What could we do to stop this? My leaders response was, “you could write your Congressman.”

I still am not sure if my leader was serious when the remark was made but I took it very seriously. I went home from my 4-H meeting and did just that. I made my best argument for keeping the horse program and then sent my concerns off to my Michigan legislatures. Weeks passed, then one day, as I sat in algebra dreaming of anything but the figures on the blackboard, the high school secretary’s voice came over the intercom. I was being summoned to the principals office. Now let me clarify, this was not a regular occurrence. On the contrary, I had never been inside his office, so I was quite shook up by the order.

When I got to the principals office someone else was there as well, dressed in a suit and tie, there stood my Congressman. My Congressman! He had come to my high school to discuss the letter I had written. I then realized the power of every citizen and our individual ability to influence our government. I still believe in that power.

I want to encourage you, as a reader of this blog, to use your power to influence your US Congressmen. The House of Representatives passed HR 3288 late last week by a vote of 255-168. This bill includes three provisions for reverse mortgages. One of these provisions will lower the proceeds that seniors receive from the program. The reverse mortgage program has helped innumerable seniors stay in their home and live a more comfortable retirement. This program is in jeopardy. I urge you to contact your Congressman and urge him not to change the program. Let him or her know that you care about our seniors and their well being. Let Congress know that seniors cannot afford to be stripped of any more benefits. A reverse mortgage is a powerful financial tool that can make positive changes in the lives of seniors. It can enable seniors to age in place when they lack liquid assets to cover daily expenses. Congress is still contemplating huge reductions in medicare and medicaid. This is just one more lifeline that could be taken away. Please let your Congressman know that you support the reverse mortgage program and don’t want the benefits reduced. Don’t our seniors deserve better?

Write a letter or make a call to your Congressmen. You never know, maybe he or she will reach back out to you. Don’t be surprised, it can happen, I know, it happened to me!

P.S. The horse program was not eliminated at the Upper Peninsula State Fair, so you see, sometimes our government does work.

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