28 December 2010

State Senator Mike O'Pake: 1940-2010

One of my earliest exposures to politics came around eighth grade, well before I could even vote.  I had been selected to participate in NAIMUN, the North American Invitation Model United Nations conference, one of the largest and most prestigious model UN conferences in the world.  Due to construction and class sizes, our eighth grade was in the high school building, and this gave us some early introductions to high school organizations.  Our school was perhaps one of the only ones to have eighth graders in model UN, and it was considered very prestigious to be selected for NAIMUN, much less as an eighth grader.

As a representative of both Muhlenberg High School and Berks County, I was introduced around that time to State Senator Mike O'Pake, who I would come to see fairly often during my time in high school.  If there was something going on in the community, Mike O'Pake was there.  If you won an award, you were sure to receive a letter of congratulations from Senator O'Pake.  At that point in my life I didn't understand Democrats or Republicans, but I did understand Mike O'Pake.  He was, as one person said, part of the fabric of the community.

State Senator Mike O'Pake died on Monday due to complications from his recent heart surgery.  Today's Reading Eagle has the story of Mike O'Pake's life here.
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