This afternoon I got an email from my father. It was a link to a newspaper article from back home. It seems that in addition to burying Galveston and parts of Huston under water and producing a hellacious wind storm yesterday, Ike has ravaged the Northwest part of the state as well. In its wake it left at least one man I knew dead. There’s a good chance he won’t be listed as one of the hurricane’s casualties, but it was because of the storms and flooding left over from Ike that he, and his father, lost their lives.
Mark Thanos, my high school journalism teacher and yearbook advisor, heard a young boy crying for help. He and his father, jumped in to help the boy who was being pulled into a flooded culvert under the street. The boy, was thankfully washed onto the shore of the ditch, but Mr. Thanos and his father weren’t found for another 30 minutes, and by then it was too late.
I’m not going to put on some fake show and say he was the reason I became a teacher. He didn’t even inspire me toward journalism, except that he sponsored the yearbook and gave me an outlet for my writing. I took his class for three years while it was combined with the newspaper program. When they were separated my senior year, I opted for newspaper. I liked the “hard hitting,” fact finding of the high school newspaper far more than the perpetually upbeat recounting of club events and dances. While he wasn’t the direct inspiration on my teaching, he was a nice guy who made me enjoy class. He always had positive feedback, even for the most obnoxious kid in the class (and we had plenty of those). He took our ribbing and goofing off in good humor, because he taught us it was ok as long as we still made our deadlines. He wasn’t any sort of expert on journalism, just an English teacher they stuck with a yearbook class, but he tried. He really tried.
Although I am saddened by his death, I am not at all surprised he died trying to save someone else, especialy a child. He was a good man. Even though I haven’t thought about him for a dozen years or so (except briefly when shown old yearbook photos), I miss him. He was a good teacher.