Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving, 2008: A lifetime of people & events deserving of thanks

By Steve Villano

This has been an amazingly historic year in the nation’s history, in Cable Positive’s life, and in my own. I cannot get through a single day without ticking off a “top ten” list of people and events for which I am grateful.

Inevitably, any list of “thanks” is an incomplete one, in a life as full and fulfilling as mine, where I am touched by the grace of good people every day. Here’s my, admittedly, abbreviated attempt:

  • I’m thankful for Barack Obama, his tenacity, his even temperament, and for bringing this country back to its common senses, and injecting us all with a great sense of promise and possibility, especially during tough times;
  • I’m thankful for the inspiring work done in the area of HIV/AIDS by Dr. Helene Gayle, President/CEO of CARES, whom Cable Positive honored in March, along with MTVN’s Bill Roedy and Insight’s Michael Willner, whose lives have also been bright lights to us;
  • I’m thankful to Showtime’s Matt Blank, who I have on record saying that a Cable Positive POP Award is more important to him than an Emmy—although he’s done pretty well in that department as well;
  • I’m thankful to Ann Carlsen, whose generosity jump-started Cable Positive’s “One-for-One” program, bringing much needed anti-retroviral drug assistance to children and families throughout sub-Saharan Africa;
  • I’m thankful to John Evans his untiring efforts to find a cure for this disease, and his incredible support for me, for Cable Positive and his critically important work on the Boards of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the Institute for Human Virology, and the NCTA.
  • I’m thankful for Cox’s leader-by-example Pat Esser for always showing up—despite his incredibly busy schedule-- at every Cable Positive Atlanta Chapter event, a practice he began well before he became President & CEO;
  • I’m thankful for Dan Moloney’s passion for education, and how he translated that into a Motorola Foundation grant—the largest single grant in Cable Positive history—which created our Youth AIDS Media Institute, to teach teens how to educate their peers about HIV/AIDS;
  • I’m thankful for the cable industry giants serving on Cable Positive’s Board of Directors, from past chairs Lela Cocoros, Dennis Mangers, Rob Stoddard, David Wicks and Bonnie Hathaway, to present chair Ray Gutierrez, and Cable Positive founder, Jeffrey Bernstein, and to Stuart Benson, Cable Positive’s treasurer, who has become a treasured friend;
  • I’m thankful for Moe Berger, Joel Berger’s father, who passed away this year, and supported the work of Cable Positive after his death, as he had done for 13 years following the death of his son to AIDS-related illnesses;
  • I’m thankful to NBC-U’s Bridget Baker and her incredible colleagues who did an extreme make-over of two HIV/AIDS facilities in New Orleans during the NCTA show;
  • I’m thankful to Rainbow Media’s Josh Sapan, for donating his “discarded artwork” to Cable Positive to sell on E-bay, and making a gift of 35 pieces of artwork to the residents of Lazarus House in New Orleans, changing some lives in the process;
  • I’m thankful to Rainbow’s Ellen Kroner, who, without a moment’s hesitation, made a gift of $500 to New Orleans’ Lazarus House, to purchase a camera for a resident who loved amateur photography, and lost everything he owned during Hurricane Katrina. Josh Sapan’s artwork and Ellen’s gift, ended the HIV positive’s man’s 3-year long depression, renewing his zest for life;
  • I’m thankful for having a terrific team of people to work with at Cable Positive, day-by-day, committed to the cause of HIV/AIDS education and awareness, and of improving the lives of people ;
  • I’m thankful for having seen my mother live to 92, battling Polio and paralysis throughout her lifetime, deeply understanding bias and stigma, and remaining relentlessly optimistic and hopeful in the face of great obstacles;
  • And, I’m thankful for the gift of being unafraid to love profoundly, and for the people I love most—Carol, my partner in life for 37 years through all sorts of storms and sunshine, and my son Matt & his wife Nicole, who already have brought us much joy, and will bring us still more in the Spring of 2009, when we become grandparents, for the first time.

I am, above all, thankful to be alive, and participating in a time of great change, challenge, promise and hope for the future.

1 comment:

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