Announcing the 2019 MDI Man of the Year

Jim Ellis 
Legacy Magazine Editor

Every year since 2014, the Legacy Magazine has crowned a single man as the MDI Man of the Year. It has been bestowed on that man who has done the most to live the mission and core values of MDI, as well as promote the organization in some public way, showing up as an example for successful families, careers and communities.

In years past we acknowledged these men:

  • 2014 – Ashanti Branch – Western Region
  • 2015 – Jeff Lawrence – Western Canada Region
  • 2016 – Brian Mumford – New England Region
  • 2017 – Ian Kennard – Eastern Canada
  • 2018 – Eric Mortimer – Canada

This year of 2019, a year in which the Mentor Discover Inspire organization experienced a shake-up with membership, losing a hefty percentage of our men – notably from the Mid-Atlantic Region and the Southwest Region – it became a challenge to identify a man who stood out among the rest in this landscape of loss.

Without hashing through a turbulent and, honestly, confusing experience, it has been established that the present leadership has plans to learn from the past, create a solid new foundation, develop online trainings and discover creative and innovative ways to bolster and grow membership.

It is in this light that we pick that special man, no matter what will come in the future.

Without further ado, we reveal to you the 2019 MDI Man of the Year:

The man we lost.

Yes, we lost men to death (including recently our Dr. Robert Irwin), as our organization grows older, turning to sunset some of our old guard. Yes, we lost men to routine attrition, as some naturally chose to move along in life for their own reasons: financial, work-related, change of residence, change of focus…

But we also lost men who were with the organization for a very long time, before the beginning in fact, helping to build the foundation that grew into a Mentor Discover Inspire. The reason they left? Many thoughts, experiences and stories on the matter, but who really knows. In the end, will it matter? In due time, it may all come into clarity the deepest reasons for the separation.

But for now, what is true… is that they are no longer with us, at least within the invisible walls of this organization.

The bottom line… our brothers are gone.

They will have their own circles, creating their own impact, and who knows – perhaps down the road, we may walk on a unified path under the same umbrella.

Even so, it’s at this time – as we crown this special man – we acknowledge something that many men may tend to avoid: a loss.

Beyond the agitation and reasons for separation, we recognize our brother. He is white, black, brown. He is Christian, Jewish, Muslim. He is tall, short, fat and skinny. And everything in between. He is a man.

And he was one of our own.

We fought the battle alongside him: building community events, manning weekends, playing games, getting knocked down, getting back up. He barged against us in an anger-filled push; he grieved in our collective arms. It did not matter his story or where he came from. He was one of us.

Yes, we may see him – at the store, on the street, at the bank, at a baseball game. And we’ll embrace and say “Hey man, how are you doing?” Because connections are that way. Once you go into ANY sort of battle with another man, and touch into that infinite masculinity and ever-granted trust, there can be no ever-lasting separation. There will always be those memories that originated in a past that fused us together at the rawest level.

And yet, we do not fool ourselves. It can not be the same experience as belonging to the same organization and circling up together. A “hello” at the Albertsons will not compare and should not compare with joining as one force, with one purpose and one intention – as a man on a men’s team.

And it’s in this light, with this insight, that we crown the 2019 Man of the Year – the man we lost.

A man we will love forever, and miss for the times we are circling up at a distance. For however long that lasts.

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