Back in the olden days, radio and television stations used to shut down at night.
I’m 85 now, so I can talk like an old-timer.
The radio station that I owned and operated for 19 years signed on at 6 AM, and signed off at sunset. We would begin the broadcast day with the playing of our national anthem. Similarly, we would end the day with a simple hymn, like “Now the Day is Over.”
Television stations often used spectacular videos as the national anthem was playing, perhaps the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, sometimes local scenery. They did this at sign-on time early in the morning, and sign-off time late at night.
The story is told of a TV executive who, while driving to his office each day, passed an attractive little neighborhood church. The lawn was manicured, the flowers spectacular, the landscaping done to perfection. Out of curiosity, he finally stopped to learn more about this little inner-city treasure.
The pastor shared a most interesting story. The exterior of the church was tended to by a member who was born with a serious birth defect. Her face was so grotesque, the pastor said, that she refused to be seen in public. But, she wanted to do something of beauty. And so she devoted her life to keeping the appearance of the little church beautiful.
The TV executive decided that photos of that church should and would be seen on his station’s sign-off, and so, each day, a church that few people would even know about became widely recognized and admired, thanks to a humble anonymous member of the parish.
That was a very long lead-in to a story I heard just a few days ago. I’m sure, by now, you’ve seen and read accounts of the graduation ceremony at Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia.
76 Michigan prisoners received bachelor’s degrees or associate’s degrees through the Calvin Prison Initiative program.
What did not make the news was that MDOC Director Heidi Washington kindly and quietly decided that prisoners would not be required to wear their prison blues under graduation gowns (No mother should have to see that!). And then, some sugar daddy stood tall and picked up the tab for new shirts and pants for the graduates!
As a newsman, that’s the kind of story I loved!
The anonymous donor obviously caught what John Bunyan was talking about when he said:
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you."