In between moving and organizing his 4,789 books Gil Schmidt tool time off to tell a couple of his favorite Blogger Stories. The first is a public one, still ongoing, while the second is now being made public. Gil's story are wonderful examples of the ying and the yang of blogs: bloggers making a difference in other people's lives and other people touching bloggers' lives. And the greater good that so often comes from those relationships.
Blogger Story Teller: Gil C. Schmidt, Gil The Jenius
While researching blogs in Puerto Rico, I came across a post in a local blog titled The Information Soldier. The author, Aníbal Freytes, was a government employee at the time and was very disenchanted with what he was experiencing on the job.
I quoted his post and wrote to him, offering my help in any way. He wrote back to me, linked to my blog and we agreed to have lunch. Over pasta, we talked about dozens of topics, most of them related to working in and for the government and options for finding a better job.
Less than a month later, Aníbal resigned from his dead-end government job for one in a fascinating tech company. He was kind enough to credit me for helping me make the transition. A few months later, Aníbal stopped posting for a few days: he suffered a heart attack. Although in his early 30s, his weight and health habits were obviously negative factors. Through our blogs, e-mails and phone calls, we stayed in touch, and though we haven’t met again in person, we have kept our new friendship growing through contacts and blog references.
In late January, 2006, a woman I didn’t know sent me e-mail asking for my help in raising funds for a community project. While doing her search for local resources that could help her, she ran across one of my Gil The Jenius posts, tracked my name over to eRevista Portal, a digital publication I co-created and co-wrote from 2001-2003 and from there to an article from 2002 in a local website about writing Federal grant proposals. (May I note I didn’t get paid for any of the writing she used to find me? Bears mentioning.)
We met at her home and her passion to help her community, located on the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico, was infectious. Using me as the “brain” (I am a Jenius…) of her proposals, this young lady was able to secure support and resources to reopen the community center and expand its services for local families. After only 5 months, she has helped more than 30 families receive food, clothing, medical care and continuing education. Her goal is to establish permanent programs that help people get on track, then gradually reduce the help they provide so that dependence isn’t fostered.
She has also talked frequently about my blog, and though it’s in English, several of her associates are regular readers now, offering topics and encouragement (and the occasional brickbat.)