Roz Schneider December 22nd, 2009

In October, Brian received the John Parr and Sandy Widener Civic Leadership Award given by The Denver Foundation. Kathy Parr presented the award. Jean and Paul Widener flew in from Boise. Numerous other family and friends of the Parrs, Wideners, and Barhaughs were in attendance. The following is Brian's acceptance speech: John and Sandy Award – BB’s comments – 10/8/09 A few people have asked me what an old white guy like me is doing working with inner-city teens. I grew up in Wyoming where the winds can make a man crazy … I was lucky. I was caught out in blizzards, but I came through them… I was a lucky dog. My Dad was shot down over Germany, came home to be a loving father and an alcoholic…. I was lucky son-of-a-gun. I grew up in a small town where people took care of their neighbors…. I was the luckiest kid on the block. When the Vietnam war came along… and When I heard that my smiling, laughing, 12 year-old neighbor Ricky was killed by gangs…. And when my beautiful daughter Paloma was born into this beautiful and cruel world I realized I was way too lucky. Things were way out of balance. The only sane course was…..to start giving back all that luck. I soon found that it wasn’t all that easy… to keep doing and doing and doing - people did start wondering if I had been out in that Wyoming wind too long. But about that time people like John Parr and Sandy Widener came to stand by me. John’s Denver Community Leadership Forum created the “tipping point” for me and Sandy’s spunk pushed me the rest of the way in. Roz was always by my side and then up stepped Paul and Craig and Kevin and JH and DB, Alan and Elsa, Phillip and Phil, Brooke and Linda and Josh and Katherine and Michael and so many others, and especially…. the courageous youth. And then when John and Sandy and Chase left us feeling so alone and so unlucky It took me a while, but I now know realize how lucky we are that… They were here….. and they are still here. I see them in all of you. And, best of all, I feel their love and support every day…. that I have the incredibly good luck of working with the beautiful, courageous, funny and inspiring youth of our inner-city schools. Thank you for this award. It honors me and it honors you. Please take the time tonight to meet just a few of the wonderful young people who most certainly share this honor: Shanita and Teo and Esmeralda and Leo and Uche and Candi and Karen. We are all so very lucky. Afterthought: I have frequently pondered Sandy’s exciting challenge to us all to imagine a great city. Tonight, in the good company of all of you, her dream - and John’s work to realize it - is alive and well.