I was a Cub Scout way back a long time ago, and one of the field trips that they were holding was to go and visit Telecare. Now for anyone not from Long Island, Telecare is a Roman Catholic broadcasting company / TV Station, run by the Diocese of Rockville Center, that broadcasts a range of things pertaining to Catholic life, like broadcasting Church on Sundays, but also talk shows, and even a cooking show, with Monsignor Jim, (Who I just met again yesterday!) They broadcast from the parking lot of my former high school, Kellenberg Memorial High School, and their large broadcast tower, can be seen from as far away as Ocean and Loop Parkways, in Long Beach.
Anyway, we were going to see how everything is done and how everything is broadcasted there. We were very excited, as my 'Cub Pack', had all my friends from my class in school, Joey G., Joe, Will, and Chris. I remember we all met up at my friend Chris's house in East Meadow, right down the road from Kellenberg, and my parents dropped me off, and 'Papa G.", was going to take me to Telecare, and back to my house which was also right down the road. We got there, and while waiting in the lobby, we met Monsignor Hartman. He said to just call him Tom, and so that is what I am going to do here in this post too.
I had watched the God Squad for years, as he, along with Rabbi Marc Gellman, talked about topics of faith on Long Island. As we walked around, Tom showed us the different sets, and that is where I met Monsignor Jim for the first time too, on the set of Real Food, which still airs to this day. I then was on the set of The God Squad, and Tom showed us all the equipment and the Teleprompter. It was the first time I had ever been on the set of a show, and had ever seen a teleprompter. Tom said to me, read off of it, and give it a shot. I then read a bit of the day before's God Squad, and he said I did an excellent job, and when someone that you have seen for years, and have respected for years, tells you that you did an excellent job on something that you were afraid to do at first... you get a immense feeling of love and support.
After reading that, I started to say that I wanted to continue to do that. He said that I should chase my dreams, and that If I don't live my life to the best of my abilities, that I will have let myself down. I loved the feeling of reading things to a crowd, and even though it was to a few of my friends, and a priest, when I was nine and a half years old, it made a huge difference in my life. I also loved the words of wisdom that he gave to me that night!
Undoubtedly, I think that without this base, I would never be able to think about, and to want to do things like join WHRU Radio Hofstra University, and join my high school's chorus. Without Tom encouraging me on the TV for years and then in person, I don't think I would have had that courage to do it on my own, and to Monsignor Tom, I thank him immensely.
Now last Tuesday, February 16th, 2016, Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman passed away, after over a decade and a half of valiantly fighting Parkinson's Disease. I never did get the chance to see him again and thank him for his service to me, and giving me the self-confidence to want to do that for the rest of my life. Without Tom, I don't think I would be in the spot that I am today, and again I thank him immensely for that!
So as we have lost a great man, hopefully, his belief in me, that I will be as good of a person that I can be, will live on forever, and that his belief in me that I can capture my dreams, will never die!
Have you ever seen the God Squad? Have ever heard of Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman? Would you have wanted to have met him like I did?
Rest In Peace Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman - 1946 - 2016
Quotes of the Day: "Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." - Norman Cousins
"Either you run the day, or the day runs you." - Jim Rohn
"Genius ain't anything more than elegant common sense" - Josh Billings