Published December 10, 2008
Rick Billak was on the show today.
Rick was on w/ Dr. John Vargo. We talked about former Congressman Jim Traficant coming back from doing his federal time, we talked about the issues w/ the Mahoning County Jail, talked about the dis-banded Mahoning County (so-called) Working Group and the need to re-assemble the group, we talked about the '"dysfunctional" county criminal justice system----and emphysema .
Emphysema?? Where does emphysema fit into that discussion ???
Well, I wish it didn't- but it does:
Dr.Billak made public today-his battle w/emphysema.
Rick's won a lot of battles--he's battled to build and keep the agency-The Good C.C.A./The Community Corrections Agency , an agency that his leadership has propelled The Good C.C.A. from a 'start-up agency, to one of THE TOP corrections, education and rehabilitation agencies-- not only in the state of Ohio, but in the entire COUNTRY !
While doing the right thing, Rick's stepped on many toes-bad toes- the toes of organized crime figures and others. When some of those 'figures' could NOT re-direct Rick - they abused the state criminal justice system to attack and try to remove Rick...
Rick WON-Rick won that battle. Rick's always battled and won-his wins were and are OUR wins as Rick's TRULY made this community a MUCH better place to work and /or live. Rick's battles have resulted in all wins and no losses...until now.
Sadly I tell you that Rick won't win this battle.
If anybody could-it would be Rick Billak, who, to this day, continues to put the need of OUR community before his own.
If it were me, I would have retired long ago- after being diagnosed- and moved to the most beautiful, healthy and peaceful community that I could afford..but that's me,NOT Rick---Rick continues to arrive early-everyday at The Good C.C.A which is in the middle of what many would call one of the most troubled/high-crime, dangerous , MOST NEEDY neighborhoods in the city- a city w/ the FIFTH highest crime rate according to population(Compton,California,a city KNOWN for gang violence is 6th !!!) AND the 15th HIGHEST crime rate,REGARDLESS of population --- while his breathing becomes more laboured as his lungs deliver less and less oxygen to his body , as he weakens, -Rick continues to fight and win battles for us... continuing to work to create a better community for us, while losing his personal battle, Rick continues--- working intelligently,tirelessly, compassionately and fearlessly...for us.
Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath-
Keep me in your heart for awhile
If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less--
Keep me in your heart for awhile ...