By Nina Crowder
Ray High grad Daniel Harmon was chosen for the Australian Down Under football program, but what may have been one of the happiest events of Harmon’s young life is in fact something he will not be able to participate in.
The football program has been held annually since 1989 as a means of providing exposure for the sport in Australia at the same time using sports to bridge continents according to the International Sports Specialist Inc., organizer of the Down Under Sports competition. The competitive football program recruits the best players from around the world, and to be selected to play is a real honor.
Many speak of the downturn of the economy, how people are losing jobs or taking jobs that are paying less, loss of health care coverage and stress due to the economy all of these issues can have a strain on any family. With state and local government budget cuts, Daniel’s mother, Deborah Harmon, was recently informed that she will be laid off along with many others.
When Daniel heard this news, he simply stated that he could not go to Australia. He needed to stay and help take care of his mother and three siblings.
Daniel lost his father about eight years ago, and according to his mother, Deborah, has been “man of the house” since the loss occurred. “No child should ever have to take on that obligation,” she said.
Daniel stepped up and helped take care of the family while attending Ray High School and while his mother worked. Six months ago, Daniel was looking at playing football in Australia and then going on to college. Now everything has changed, and he is trying to make decisions to best help his mother and brothers.
Novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe once said, “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Daniel’s actions are inspiring and gives faith to our youth that in troubled times the right decisions are made.
Most of us seem to assume we will have endless prosperity because of who we are or the stability within our jobs, but this is simply untrue. It takes a very selfless person to put the needs of their family before the needs and wants of their own. Daniel has made a difficult decision to pass up this once in a lifetime opportunity.