My old buddy Frank Byrne posted this on his Facebook yesterday. I was there the night it was taken:
Frank’s on the left. He’s a doctor, although today he runs a hospital in Madison, Wis. I don’t remember who, exactly, brought C. Everett Koop to Fort Wayne that night, but I’m sure it was a fundraiser of some sort. Koop spoke at the Scottish Rite auditorium and Frank, a pulmonologist, introduced him. It was very moving, that introduction; Frank said Koop was not only his role model, but a personal hero. He explained how Koop had accepted the job of surgeon general and seemed to be one thing — an anti-abortion conservative in the Reagan-revolution mode, with a strain of weirdness (the uniform, the facial hair) — but turned out to be something else entirely. A doctor. A real doctor, who put his patients first and didn’t care what the tobacco industry thought he should say about their product line.
What’s more, when it became evident that HIV/AIDS was an epidemic, and was killing people, he also stepped up, and did something else remarkable. He supervised the production of a pamphlet called “Understanding AIDS” that explained exactly how the virus was transmitted, using terms like anal sex and intravenous drug use and sharing needles. Politically, he was right in line with the man who appointed him, but when the time came, he was a doctor first and foremost.
Koop died this week, after 96 years of what I suspect was extremely clean living. The obituary has more, but I think that picture says an awful lot about him — the three-piece suit, the bow tie, the bulldog expression. Doctors are frequently eccentric dressers, I’ve noticed.
Oh, and the guy on the right? Mike Mirro. If you’re ever in Fort Wayne and feel a pain in your chest, and wake up to see that face looking down at you, rest assured you are in very good hands. Maybe the best.
I have to get up early in the morning to go to an all-day policy conference, so let’s keep this short. I have some good bloggage today, anyway.
How big heads became a part of college-basketball culture. A fun read about something I’ve never heard of. And it all started with Michael Jackson.
My alma mater has been known for its fine photojournalists for some time, and I’m glad to see the tradition is continuing, although nothing about this photo essay is easy to look at. (Jeff? I’m afraid it will be just another day at the office for you.) Subject: Domestic violence. Remarkable photos.