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Letter: Better because of him

From 1969 until 1973, I served as the executive director of the Franklin County United Way, at which time I first met Chuck Blake along with other terrific members of The Recorder staff. The newsroom became like a second office and I spent many happy hours learning how to partner and collaborate with members of the media and how to craft news items and articles that were informative and worthy of public interest. At that time, Al Oickle, Bob Dolan, Charlie Keller, Irmarie Jones, Wayne Smith and Chuck Blake were my mentors and took me under their collective wings and helped teach me how to navigate the world of news journalism. But, Chuck Blake was the ultimate instructor.

Through his photography, Chuck taught me lessons in creativity; how to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary, how to “see” and “think” in dimensions, to “sense” the soul of a situation and perhaps, most important, his constant reminder that anyone can be average but only those who take risks and dare to pursue above-average dreams drink the champagne. And now, all these years later, I still attempt to achieve the high standards advocated so beautifully by Chuck Blake through his work and through his life.

The poet has said: “We walk through our lives one day after the next, but every once and a while we stumble, completely unknowingly, into places and people that will forever alter our lives and until we blindly find our way to these people and places, life has not yet begun.”

Chuck Blake was my friend and my life is all the better because I stumbled into his and in so doing he kindly and gently chose to walk with me ... not in front, not behind — but hand in hand. His photography, his talent, his humor and infectious smile and twinkle of eye will be his legacy but most of all, those who knew him will remember and be grateful for his kindness, sensitivity and valued friendship.

FRITZ M. HEINEMANN

Selinsgrove, Pa.

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