All-Empire Banquet an inspiring event

Posted by: Press Democrat correspondent Dewey Forget

The 15th annual Press Democrat All-Empire Awards Banquet concluded less than an hour ago. Master of Ceremonies Eric Branch handled his job with style and humor; our very own columnist Bob Padecky was the guest speaker, and three coaches were honored – Rick O’Brien, Casa Grande football; Lin Barrett, Mendocino/Fort Bragg and Doug Courtemarche of Santa Rosa.

But, as it should be, the young men and women athletes and scholar-athletes were the stars of the evening. My colleague Phil Barber will have a story online tonight and in Thursday’s sports section.

On the ride home, my wife made the comment that it would be wonderful if every parent and or guardian of a young person could have attended. They would have seen the best of the best, the great prep athletes and the prep scholar-athletes who are leaders at their schools. These young people aren’t looking for a role model, they are role models. It was hard to watch them accept their awards and not think forward 4, 5 or 10 years, and wonder what they would be doing, or what accomplishments were already on the resume.

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: “In order for a man to be a leader, he must have followers. And to have followers, he must have their confidence. His teachings and actions must square with each other.”

May I suggest that tonight at the Mary Agatha Furth Center in Windsor, the some 500 attendees were looking at young men and women that Dwight D. Eisenhower would have been proud to call leaders.