Use Your Words to Nominate a Special Person for the Second Mile Award

by Kendra Bonnett on October 15, 2010

catnav-news-active-3Post #40 – Women’s Memoirs, News – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

Erwin-ThompsonJanet Riehl of Riehl Life: Village Wisdom contacted Matilda and me yesterday and asked if we’d help her get the word out about the Second Mile Award she has created. Please read on because this is your opportunity to use your writing skills to do something for a couple of Elders.

Janet’s father, Erwin A. Thompson, turns 95 on November 9, 2010–a feat in and of itself. If you know Janet’s writing, you also Mr. Thompson has remained active in the arts and connected with family and community his entire life. He is a writer and musician and a significant contributor to the audio version of Janet’s memoir, Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry and Music. We reviewed Sightlines.

What Do You Give to a Man Who Has Everything He Values?

What do you give to a father who has lived to 95 and enjoys simple values? Janet’s answer to this question (and her gift) are inspired: Create an award called the Second Mile Award that honors a person–75 years or older–whose life shares the same values as Janet’s father–integrity, dignity, character, creativity and connection to community.

Use Your Gift of Writing to Honor a Special Elder in Your Life

The Second Mile Award, in my opinion, is the gift that keeps on giving. Janet honors her father by honoring his values. In turn, she makes it possible for all of us to nominate someone special we know. And finally, Janet intends to make this an annual award. The values live on.

To nominate a special Elder (75 years or older)  in your life, write a brief, personal essay (500 words or fewer) that explains why your nominee qualifies. Use your best writing skills to paint a picture with detail. Remember, show don’t tell.

You’ll find all the details on how to enter by following this link to Riehl Life. Janet and her father will read all the entries and select the winner.

The Second Mile Award recipient receives:

  • a $500 honorarium,
  • a certificate designed by Erwin’s granddaughter, Janean Thompson Baird, and
  • publication on Janet’s Riehl Life blogsite.

So take some time this weekend to honor a special Elder in your life. Write a 500-word essay and submit it by November 9, 2010.

What is the “Second Mile?”

The Second Mile comes from the story of the Good Samaritan and the Bible verse: Matthew 5:41: “And whosoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him, go twain.” This is a favorite passage of Erwin Thompson, so much so that he named his novel The Second Mile. While circumstances might compel our first mile, it is a person’s special character that drives him or her to go the second mile. This belief has been the guiding force behind Mr. Thompson’s life.

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Janet Riehl October 15, 2010 at

Thanks, Kendra and Matilda for letting more people know about The Second Mile Award.

Women can honor both female and male Elders through writing vivid stories about their lives and influence.

In my life there are several older women in their 80s and 90s who are intelligent, alive, and active. They shine a light on the kind of Old Woman I’d Like to Be: Genie Keller (poet and devoted caregiver to her husband); Lois Locke (Jersey County Historical Society president & seamstress); Grace Madison (forward-thinking, at peace with life and death, filled with grace).

It is these type of men and women whose ordinary lives have changed the world around them through their unassuming inspiration and influence.

Janet Riehl

Kendra Bonnett October 15, 2010 at

Thanks for that, Janet. Nice perspective.

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