(Editor’s Note: iHeartGlassCity has invited all candidates and issues to submit a column, to better educate the voters on the upcoming November 3rd election.)
Written by: Mark Hughes
Giving back to one’s community doesn’t begin as an elected official. The passion to serve begins in the heart and soul of the individual. If one doesn’t possess this attribute, then the service he or she provides certainly will not be heartfelt.
My heartfelt service began as a pediatric nurse. I entered into the specialty at 23 years old not understanding the impact it would have on my own life. Initially, I viewed this job as a way to hang out with kids while helping to make them feel better. What a great gig…who could ask for better? I quickly discovered it was so much more than that. I realized that as a pediatric nurse not only did I care for the child but the family as well. No two family situations were alike and most often the kids were too sick to engage in activities.
Back in the early 2000’s, I cared for a 17 year old patient that I will refer to as “Aaron” (for privacy purposes), who was diagnosed with a form of cancer. Aaron was developmentally delayed and he had a poor family dynamic. He had frequent admissions into the hospital and most times was not accompanied by any family or friends. As time passed, it was determined that Aaron was terminal and his time was limited. One night around 2 am, Aaron came out to the nurse’s station and asked if he could sit with me. I said sure, and invited him to take a chair at the station. We began to talk about life in general and out of nowhere, Aaron states, “I don’t want to die alone.” I was completely caught off guard. I instantly realized Aaron was reaching out and needed someone to talk about his diagnosis. He was scared. I knew I couldn’t change his circumstances; but I could be there to support him during his extended hospitalization. Toledo Hospital at that time had a McDonald’s located in the cafeteria. Each night I worked, I would go down to McDonald’s and buy him food and would allow him to eat his meal near the nurse’s station. This made Aaron’s day. He began to look forward to it and each night I worked he would rush up to me and provide me his McDonald’s order before I could get my coat off. I loved every minute of it…and he did as well.
Aaron is now in heaven. There are many stories like Aaron’s that touched my life in a very positive way. Children are precious. We can learn a lot from them and certainly be a guiding force in their lives.
Over the past decade, I have channeled my energy of service to the kids of Washington Local. I have been a coach, mentor, and a volunteer at many events. Moving forward, I hope to be elected to the BOE to be a servant to enhance the education the children of Washington Local receive.
The one lesson I hope is learned this election cycle is that a community is powerful when people bond together. More importantly, Washington Local still matters and this school district has tremendous opportunity if WE, as a community, continue to cultivate toward the future together.
Washington Local’s future includes incorporating technology into the classrooms and strengthening relationships with universities and businesses. If we provide our students with iPads just imagine the possibilities that exist! That technology alone can incorporate electronic textbooks and scholastic references available at the fingertips of our students. This would open a gateway to the world and broaden the educational experience of the students who attend Washington Local Schools. Additionally, if this technology is achieved, perhaps partnerships can be created with colleges and universities to allow our students access into these academic institution’s electronic library databases. If partnerships like these come to fruition, the endless academic possibilities of our graduates are insurmountable. This may open discussions for college opportunities for Washington Local graduates as well.
We are a school system that is historically chased by others. Let’s continue that trend. I want others to envy Washington Local. We as a community can make that happen. Please help this journey by voting for me on November 3rd.
For more information on Mark Hughes, visit his website