written by Paula Little, 18 May 2001from a personal e-mail to Paul Stuart Wichansky
I was amazed that, considering the fact that you were moving into your new apartment today, you still took the time to email us! We returned just a short time ago from packing up our son Stephen, and returning him from Caldwell College.
Frank and Megan and I want you to know how very blessed we feel to have made our chance encounter with you at Rafferty's. We also found our time together delightful, but more than that; I can't begin to describe what an incredible impact you had on each of us. Your friendly and open nature is simply magnetic, and it's easy to see how students, and people in general, are drawn to you.
You are a mightily gifted individual. There are few people in this world who possess the God-given talent to single-handedly transform others' attitudes and perspectives in a positive way, and you, dear Paul, have undoubtedly been chosen to be one of them.
Our conversation during dinner was thought-provoking, and you have been on my mind ever since. I have told several people about you already, and am determined to find venues for you to relate your experiences to others. We have several good friends in the educational system here in the elementary schools in Barnegat, and in Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin. (We SHOULD know enough teachers and administrators by now as all four of our children have attended these schools!) I will soon be sharing your web site address with them in hopes of encouraging them to commit to having you speak to several classes during the upcoming school year.
I have read your entire web site before emailing you, and I am beyond impressed! Your family is a wonderful example of the power of courage and support in difficult situations. I do believe that love can conquer all, and have witnessed the difference it makes in our own family.
We lost one of our dearest friends last year, on May 16th. His name was Al McNeil; he was 75 years old when he died, but he was also a tremendous mentor to me, and to our children. He had been raised as an orphan until the age of 18, at which time he joined the military. Despite incredible hardships, he secured an education, and was a private and public school teacher for many years. His was a life of joy and spiritual communion with every person he ever met. He took sole care of his invalid wife for the last 6 years of her life with such care and tenderness that you knew it was a privilege for him to be there for her. He never hesitated to reach out to people he didn't even know when he sensed that they needed a friend or a lift. That's exactly how we met, in our Church.
He reached out to me when I was having a very difficult time. Al's constant support and concern was heartfelt and invaluable, and helped me through a potentially devastating period with shared faith and love. I learned countless lessons from him, the most important being that love for our fellow human beings is the highest calling, and the most essential.
I want you to know that I consider meeting you the day after our dear friend's one year anniversary an immeasurable blessing and far from coincidental. You remind me so much of Al's RELENTLESSLY positive outlook; we used to call him "Mr. PMA", because one of his favorite lines was "PMA, all the way!", which stood for "positive mental attitude". He also often said "A person is worth more than a thing", and "Don't panic, adjust!". He simply exuded love for others, and I see the same quality in you.
Your message is one that the world desperately needs to hear, loud and clear. Your accomplishments are remarkable, even for someone without a disability. You are an inspiration, and a treasure. Please keep in touch; I'm certain that we will never cease to be amazed by your future achievements, and are indeed fortunate to have met you. God bless you always, and know that you will be in my prayers each day of my life.
With much love and gratitude,
Paula and Frank Little
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