Years ago, I had a very dear friend. We went to the same high school, Walter E. Stebbins in Dayton, Ohio. He was in marching bank and I was on a marching/dancing drill team. I can’t even remember where we met or how we developed our relationship to be so close, but it was special. When I think back to that time in my life, those teenage days, the “challenging years,” never do I reflect on them and not think of him, my dear friend James. I think we found in each other soul mates.
James was a Christian, and proud of it. He was different in so many ways than other young men his age. He had principles and integrity, even at that tender age. I knew he was destined to be something bigger and better than many of the other boys I knew from school. He was honest, compassionate and a great listener. I can’t even guess how many times we spent outside the driveway of his house, just a stone’s throw away from Spinning Road, or outside my house chatting … about life, about religion, about hypocrisy, and yep, even about love interests we each had. Those love interests were never for each other, mind you, that never entered the picture as the friendship was too precious to us to ever want to risk ruining it. Once we crossed that bridge, there would have been no turning back. Some friends are just too priceless to risk losing.
I lived in what was referred to the rich kids’ neighborhood at the time, Saville Estates. James grew up in the meager neighborhood with a small house with lots of siblings to feed. He held a job, in addition to his school activities. Most of us that did school functions did not work but he did and never once complained about it. I remember seeing him at Kroger’s any day school was not in session and there was nothing going on with school functions, there he was, working. He even seemed to enjoy it!
When I moved away my senior year, we lost touch. I thought about him often, wondering what bridges he was building in the world and what ones needed to be torn down which he was trying to destroy. He was a man who cared too much about his fellow men to sit idly by and not be a vocal piece for change and provide the leg work, if needed.
I got connected to Facebook and through a high school friend, found out where James lived and worked. We began to recently communicate again. It truly was no surprise to me to learn he was an attorney in Dayton, Ohio and made a career out of injustices.
James always did represent the hard working man, the man that went to church on Sunday and provided for his wife and kids Monday through Friday (Saturdays if needed). He went on to law school and eventually made a career out of representing the “everybodys” in our towns that nobody wanted or cared about, regular people that need to work. Some of his clients are the ones that companies foolishly throw by the wayside, without a second thought, not honoring their rights as an employee when they either dismiss them or discriminate against them. He is concerned with the law and with everyone’s entitled legal rights.
In years gone by, James was behind a new law in Ohio that had to do with cracking down on “crack houses” as he wanted the community to be a better place for our young people to live. James eventually opened his own legal practice, all the while, supporting a family and dealing with health issues of his own. It did not matter what James was faced with, be it the death of his beloved mother, the cutbacks of a company forcing him to lose his job, being flat on his back with health matters, he remained true to the young man I remember, a man with a fierce spirit and a strong, powerful faith in God.
My parents still live in the town where James lives to this day, and I grew up in, Dayton, Ohio. This town has been affected, as every town in the U.S. has, by a downward economy. Without the multitude of choices a big city offers, Dayton relies even more heavily on the success of its business partners. They, too, are being affected by the economy. It is discerning that there is a pervasive feeling in this city by many ordinary folks that the city truly does need a change. As much as Washington D.C. needed one and it passed like wild flower through our country, this same “fever” and need for change is felt in Dayton, Ohio.
It was with happiness, but not great surprise that I recently learned my dear friend has chosen to run for Mayor of Dayton. He has many folks that know him and can vouch for his sincerity and his record toward improvement and instituting changes. James represents a working man’s son, the eldest of many siblings that grew up poor in bank funds and rich in love and spirit. He grew up and stay inspired towards common good for mankind. I feel the city is blessed to have an opportunity to put him on the ballot, that James R. Greene III.
James represents the American Dream, reaching down deep, having a hard work ethic, and pushing to be all that you can be. He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth and asked for no hand outs. James did not ask for sympathy for any setback that has befallen him in life, he just met them each, one at a time, head on. He is that rare breed that we do not have the opportunity to vote for often in political elections, a genuine man with integrity. I pray he makes it in to office, as not only will this do great things for my home town of Dayton, but once the word gets out, it may help pave the way for a new breed of politicians. Is this not long overdue? He is one of us, as he would say. But I personally feel he is more than most!
I am so inspired to learn of his political aspirations. I ask all of you that read this, please offer him your praise and prayer. He can do so much good for the city, if given the chance. Dayton needs a change; we all do in our cities. What he is trying to do in his town is something we all hunger for. Ordinary people can rise above and impact policy! If a man like James can make it into office, there is hope alive and well in the world; God surely must be smiling!