Dobel Street

Pecking away

After procrastinating for years, I’ve finally started to peck away at a chronicle of this wonderful Detroit story. Here’s my prelude:

I’m not a do-gooder by nature. In fact, there was a time I was so self-absorbed and career-driven that I moved my family of five, plus two dogs and two cats, to New York City, mostly just to enhance my resume.

Doing better than some but certainly in the 99-percent category, I live just above the paycheck-to-paycheck line. Yeah, the family eats out once or twice a week without dipping into the bill money.

I’m college educated, not Ivy League material, though. I grew up on Detroit’s east side, the son of a factory worker and bolted this rusted-out hell hole when I was 19 by joining the U.S. Navy. I finally earned my BA in social studies at unprestigious Towson State University in Maryland, only after leaving the Navy in 1991.

I tell you all this for the same reason Charles Dickens started “A Christmas Carol” by establishing that Jacob Marley “was as dead as a door-nail” — it’s crucial to the rest of the story.

A lot of people, perhaps most of them, believe that only the saints, the rich and the brilliant can change the world for the better.

I’m here to tell you, that couldn’t be more false. Really, I think it might be entirely the other way around.

In my humble opinion — which has changed dramatically since July 2007 — the world will start spinning as it should only when ordinary people, the masses, decide to turn off the TV, put down the smart phone, get off the couch and be part of something way bigger than themselves.

Hopefully, the following story will inspire you to do so. It still sends shivers down my spine — and maybe even saved my soul.



… and the story continues to today.