Sunday, July 10, 2016

187. My Friend Al

There are very few people in my life like Alec Torigian. Al is one of the smartest, most caring people I know. I don’t want to bury the lede here, so make sure you support his cause to raise money to buy windows for the Most Pure Heart of Mary School in Mobile, Alabama. Al taught at the school for a few years and it’s a place that really shaped him as a person. It’s a place where much love is needed to continue to serve the African-American community of Mobile.

Here’s why Al deserves your support: He’s someone who can comfort you with scripture or hip-hop lyrics. He’s a math major who has the deepest understanding of spirituality that I know. He always lets his light shine. There are some people whose positivity is used as a mask. I don’t believe that’s the case with Al. He’s a guy who could adequately be described by my favorite Beatles lyrics, “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” He’s a guy who gives and gets so much out of life.

Al is a friend who is always willing to listen. He’s taken my calls far too late into the evening, and he rarely gets angry when I do. He’s genuine in his faith, his love for friends and family, and the work that he does.

The thing I admire most about Al is his willingness to put himself in situations where he is challenged. He served as part of the Benedictine Volunteer Corps in Tanzania. And then he moved to Mobile to serve and teach at the Most Pure Heart of Mary. While it was a school that was (and still is) filled with challenges, Al faced them with humor, wit, and an open heart. I admire him for that. He went on to work with ACE (Alliance for Catholic Education), where he has ensured that other people can continue to work in places that need help.

And this fall, he’s going to work in the South Side of Chicago as a teacher at a Catholic school. If you’re reading this, you probably know that the South Side isn’t exactly a Mayfield. It’s a tough place. Al’s leaving a good job to go teach there. I don’t like to speculate on how much money people make, but I can only assume he’s not going back into teaching for the money. While me and most of my friends are settling in to decent paying jobs and starting to settle down, Al is still working in places that challenge him physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

To turn it back to why I wanted to write this in the first place, please donate to Al’s cause. Al’s love for the Most Pure Heart of Mary is genuine and I know it’s a place that’s still in his heart even a few years after he’s left it.

Al is the type of person who tackles things with a fullness of heart. If you’re reading this, please consider supporting a man who I consider a great friend and human being.

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