J.R. Salzman and the thankful Kurdish cab driver

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J.R. Salzman and the thankful Kurdish cab driver

Long time readers know that I am a huge fan of JR Salzman.  In fact, he may have pulled ahead of Tom Brady as my favorite athlete as well, although once I get over the trauma of the Debacle in Denver from Sunday night JR may move back to second. 

For some background, the first time I talked about him here was in December of 2009 when Tiger Woods was named Athlete of the Year.  I argued it should have been JR:

Seven time World Log Rolling Champion, wounded Iraq Veteran, military blogger and all around good man:  J.R. Salzman   Probably everyone knows by now that Tiger Woods was named the AP Athlete of the Decade.  I am not here to say it wasn’t deserved.  His record is incomparable: 64 tournament wins, 12 major championships.  I’ve always been a fan of Tiger’s, but possibly for a different reason: his dad was Special Forces during Viet Nam.  In fact, while I was training for my stint in the Ghan, Tiger came down to Bragg and ran with the troops and gave out some golf lessons.  The whole debacle going down now makes me sad, because Tiger should be known for what he does with his putter, and not what he does with his…..um….putter. But, Athletes should be rated on how they compete in Athletics.  We don’t rate our church leaders on how well they hit a dimpled ball, and neither should we rate our sports stars on how they conduct their private business. But, it is only human to factor in such things.  It’s why everyone loves or hates Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco, and why my favorite players have always been Mark Bavaro and Larry Izzo.  But, a good case can be made that the most deserving person for Athlete of the Decade is 7 time World Log Rolling Champion, wounded Iraq Veteran, military blogger and all around good man:  J.R. Salzman.

Here is a piece from ESPN 360 to give you some context:

Once JR got back he started writing, and when I could not make it to the Warrior Games (a competition featuring all wounded and sick servicemembers) I asked JR to cover the games for us.  He did a phenomenal job.  Last year JR went back, although this time as a competitor.  And he came home with a slew of medals to show for it.

But now JR writes for the NRA, doing stories about military and law enforcement.  I still hook up with him from time to time to cover events and have a few adult beverages while discussing our time in the military.  His only big fault I can see is that he drinks foo foo drinks instead of Guinness. 

Anyway, a few weeks ago on a business trip to Dallas he ran into someone special, Dallas cab driver Sibari Diwali.


This happens to me on occasion too. I always ask my cab drivers where they are from, because I have visited so many countries, I get excited when they are from Senegal, Kyrgyzstan or any other place I have been. But if this had happened to me, I could have been moved as much as JR was.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.