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Lessons from Chick-fil-A Truett Cathy
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Truett Cathy lived an incredible life. It began with a hardscrabble start in Atlanta’s West End. It ended with him listed as one of the wealthiest people in America.

The story of how he got into the chicken business is interesting. A poultry company had been selling boneless chicken breasts to Delta Airlines for in-flight meals.

Chicken wasn’t as popular then, and Delta offered Cathy a deal on the excess inventory. He figured out a way to make a chicken sandwich on a bun. The rest, as they say, is history.

Perhaps the greatest beneficiaries of Truett Cathy’s goodness were the many boys who attended his fifth-grade Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Jonesboro. He taught the class for many years, and I can only imagine what one would glean from his wisdom and insight.

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This year’s observance of Sept. 11 comes as terrorists are once again unleashing their hate of America.

When I think back 13 years ago, I remember how we suddenly all became united in our patriotism. Flags flew high and folks sang “God Bless America” with gusto. It seems about every decade an event rallies Americans to show their love of country. A decade earlier, it was the Gulf War, as American forces turned back the army of Saddam Hussein.

It should not take an attack on our country to foster a little flag-waving, but it seems that it happens that way.

This is the greatest country on Earth and we should be proud of it every day.

* * *

I enjoy watching college football. I’ve never been a big fan of pro football, but I’m happy when our Falcons win.

I’m frustrated with sports in general right now. For generations, athletes have been upheld as role models for our youth. I don’t know if there is a sport out there that hasn’t been tarnished by news of the misbehavior of one of its stars.

People who use illegal substances, drive while drinking or cause physical harm to another person are not role models for anyone.

We now live in an era when millions of people carry a camera in the form of a smartphone. In addition, surveillance cameras are about anywhere you go. You’re going to be seen.

A young person, particularly a young man, who has been given a scholarship to play sports at the college level should be made keenly aware they have been given a chance few will ever have.

But the problem is so many athletes come from a household where no father figure was present. Some of them may be repeating behavior they saw in their childhood homes.

Aside from the lack of an example, television, movies and even music portray bad behavior as acceptable. Drugs and alcohol are an escape from the pain life may give.

But that doesn’t make bad behavior OK. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a Truett Cathy to teach them a few life lessons in a Sunday school class.

We are in need of a reset of our standards for role models. We have some good examples of hard-working, community-loving people who have made a positive difference in our world.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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