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Travis is getting married.

Jul 17, 2009

By Dan




I became Travis’ big brother when he was just 6 years old. He was a cute kid who lived with his Aunt who was and continues to be a terrific influence in his life.  I had already been in the Big Brothers program for a few years in Miami and in Boston (during college).  Matches usually last 2-3 years as someone often moves away, or grows up.  I expected a couple year run with Travis. Tomorrow, 20 years later, I’ll stand next to Travis as his Best Man in his wedding. He stood next to me at my wedding 12 years ago, and for all the years in between – through thick and thin – we’ve been a part of each other’s lives.

When I met him I drove a 66 Mustang Convertible (Wimbledon white). I was single with a healthy head of hair. Travis was really tiny, and pretty much only liked Miami football and music. We would see each other every weekend for movies, sports, or just hanging out.  Sometimes, we went to a book fair or a concert. What is so great about being a Big Brother (or any mentor) is that the things you regularly do that may have no particular significance become more important and more gratifying because you’re sharing your world with someone else.  You see the world through someone else’s eyes.

Once when I was a federal prosecutor trying a civil rights case I brought Travis to sit through closing arguments. It was a criminal case where a racist had tried to keep a black woman from moving into his Broward County neighborhood through physical threats. He sat through the hours of argument perfectly behaved (imagine an 8 year old sitting still for 2 hours). When the verdict came back “guilty” he rushed into the well of the court and started hugging me (actually he hugged my leg given his height).  I asked him what it meant to him and he said: “It means me or anyone can live anywhere we want to.” I had prosecuted hundreds of cases before and since – and many were much bigger or seemingly more important  – but none had the poignancy of that verdict.

So now, 20 years later Travis is getting married. He has a family, and is at Miami-Dade College so he can better make his way in a tough economy, and I couldn’t be more proud.  Wilsa – like any good spouse – has brought out a part of him that I knew existed but needed to be inspired. He is embracing responsibility, serious about his future, and wants to be a Big Brother himself. Boy, do I feel old and happy.



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Comments


What a fabulous story, Dan. I know you will be bursting with pride as you stand next to him during the nuptials. You are a great role model for all of us.Cindy Rodriguez



Great story Danny! I still remmeber when we played in the St.Patrick's School playground as kids. Keep up the good work.

Jose "Casty" Castellanos



What a heartwarming story. You're a real statesman.



I think that is MARVELOUS!!! Keep up the great work Dan! There should be about a billion more of you! =D



This story gave me chills. You're an inspiration and you have my vote.



Congratulations Travis and Wilsa!



Great story! Congradulations to Wilsa and Travis on thier wedding. Danny I know your gonna be standing tall, just remember try not to lock the knees..LOL...please try to remember an update w/ a pic of bride and groom and the family.



Wonderful story, Dan. So proud to be supporting you for AG!Nancy J.



The little things matter.



The little things are big things.laura tallahassee



We need you to lecture or share your thoughts at all of the City Colleges



I have tears. Me, the old cynic. And, I remember those times - the kids, and you, all those weekends in our pool. I am really proud to know you Dan and very proud that my daughter has had the chance to work for your campaign. I know that it will always be a meaningful experience in her life to look back upon. Thanks from all of us out here, for the past and our future. Lisa Berlow Lehner



Amazing amazing story. I have forwarded it to all my friends. Wow. It is sad to say that your life is the exception to the typical politican's rule, but that is why it is so important that you win.



this is a wonderful story. I would vote for you if I didnt live in Massachusets and did live in Dade County and not just because I am Lisa and Isabelle Lehners Mom nd Grandma.Good Luck



Dan, you've been such a blessing to so many lives! -Diane Cossin McCain



Travis brought the best in as well. What a terrific story and best wishes to the groom and Wilsa. Andy Hirsch



Congratulations Dan on doing such a great job in "helping our village raise a child"! Looking forward to seeing you as Attorney General.



This is one of the reasons that we support you, Senator Gelber! You have a heart AND a brain, something so rare in our society's frontliners today.Thank you for your leadership and your commitment to people.



I have no idea who you are but your piece moved me to vote for you. That was human!



Dan, of all your blog posts, I enjoyed this the most. I recall meeting Travis at one of your and Jeff's BB outtings at the bowling lanes, one Saturday.Goes to show what consistency and trust can do to form a young man.Just finished "Shooting Stars," (LeBron James), and know the next "Little" you work with would enjoy it. Semper Fi, jody fitzgerald



You are good. Lets win the presidency in 2012 and 16 and 20. Lets get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and spend the money helping people and going green and all the good things. And your website is excellent. Keep on trucking and keep on keeping on peace out



Camelot Florida's White Rose Society of Florida would like to discuss a very important - hot issue that will may - could surface up during the campaign. Do you have a Tampa Bay Campaign Manager in the Tampa Bay area?Have them give me a call neil 813-251-4669



Congratulations Dan!! All the best to you and your daughters who never missed a Martin Luther King Role Model Breakfast.Marilynn




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