No one of us is indispensable. Sure, we may contribute. We might even add value in a way that is uniquely our own. But, is it fair to imagine that we fill a role so incontrovertibly without compare that no other human (or machine) might be able to take our place? They would never be us – we are all precious individuals, no doubt; yet, could they fill our shoes differently? Apples are good and so are oranges. In different ways they both nourish our bodies.
Still, once in a while, there is a singular person who challenges this certainty. Hamilton County Superior Court Judge Steve Nation may be such a human. Even though he has served with distinction for 24 years, acting as a leader to his peers throughout our state, this does not comment on his professional accomplishment and distinction. Instead, it notes that Judge Nation takes a far broader view of community. From the bench of authority, he dispensed justice under the law. Still, as he shed the black robes of the jurist, he picked up the work of preventing the conditions that kept him fully employed in his day job.
He lent his considerable experience to the intractable problems of domestic violence, senior abuse, veterans’ reintegration, traffic safety, homelessness, education and juvenile justice. As much as he educates those at his side on these scads of nonprofit boards and commissions about the rules and peccadillos of law, he learns from those on the frontline about the root of criminal activity and the impact on its victims.
Although none of us is truly without replacement, some of us are worthy of emulation. Others are likely to step up, each in their own way, and we are lucky to have them. Help them. If we don’t see them, then be them.