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« Brain food from the heartland

"Shadows are Falling and I'm Running Out of Breath..."

By Louie b. Free (Contact)

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 ...

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