A couple of weeks ago, I was in San Francisco for an American Bar Association meeting. I attend these meetings as a networking event, for the most part, and also to get my continuing legal education credits that I have to have to keep practicing law. The group of which I am a part is called the Forum on Construction Law and we are the largest organization of construction lawyers in the world.
We will often have a keynote speech at our annual meetings. Last April, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to hear Civil Rights icon Fred Gray speak.
If you do not recognize his name, Mr. Gray represented Rosa Parks when she exercised her right to stay seated in a bus seat near the front of a Montgomery City bus. He also represented Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on trumped-up tax evasion charges in 1960, gaining an acquittal despite having an all-white jury. In the movie Selma, he was portrayed by Cuba Gooding, Jr. and in the film Boycott, he was portrayed by Shawn Michael Howard.
But that was the Annual Meeting. This was our Midwinter Meeting, though, so it was an odd thing to have a keynote speaker. But we did. Once again, we had a man speak who has been portrayed in movies.
In case you don't recognize him -- and there is no reason you would, probably, at his current age -- that is Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise, Sr. In the movie Apollo 13, he was portrayed by Bill Paxton (who also played Morgan Earp in one of my favorite movies of all time, Tombstone).
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I dropped my business card in a giveaway at the seminar, and this showed up at my office today:
While I was kind of hoping that I would get one of the signed copies of the movie, this photo is not a bad substitute.
Mr. Haise is very much a Southern gentleman (born in Biloxi, Mississippi). That said, the man can tell stories. This newspaper story provides a few of them. Our organization had a sponsor donate money to Mr. Haise's charity (which, unfortunately, I have forgotten)...it may be for the Infinity Space Center in Mississippi, according to this space collectors website.
Mr. Haise is 81 years old now. If you ever have the chance to hear him speak, jump at it. His stories are incredible, and he is truly a great man and a nice man too.