Sunday , August 06, 2017 - 7:00 AM
I had the honor of being taught by Russell Porter throughout junior high school at T.H. Bell, and then one year at Bonneville High School. Now he’s running for mayor of South Ogden. Let me share with you the Mr. Porter I knew.
I was the weird, shy kid. I had no real friends. I'd spend my free time reading or writing short stories rather than socializing or competing in sports. I was bullied. I wore a lot of black and I had a nose ring. There were always rumors going around the school about me; the biggest of all was that I was a devil worshipper capable of calling on the dark forces to do my bidding. It's the standard outsider cliché.
Most teachers didn’t know my name. Even fewer took the time to talk to me. Mr. Porter was far from that kind of teacher. He would have conversations with me and took the time to get to know me. On more than one occasion he came to my defense when other students brought up my nose ring, telling them it's none of their business. He would always ask how I was doing, and it never felt like just a passing acknowledgment. He was always sincere.
On one occasion, I had been having some personal problems and I was taken out of school for two weeks. I wasn't suspended or anything like that. I just needed some time. But being who I was, rumors flew around the school. Some people thought I was dead, others said I was on a murder spree, some said I’d suffered a drug overdose. When I returned to school, Mr. Porter (knowing only that I had to take time off and all the rumors were just ridiculous) pulled me aside and asked how I was. We had a good conversation and he told me that if I ever needed to talk, he would always be willing to listen.
Mr. Porter will be one of the best mayors in South Ogden history. I know first-hand how much compassion and integrity he has.
Nik Draven McFarland
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