I love to hear from people I have met in the past. Robert is a case in point. He battled cancer, and battled the world in general. A nicer person you could not wish to meet. My first introduction to him was a computer class that I was teaching. He came up to me at the break and introduced himself. Robert had decided that Computers were going to be his way forward in life. He had no prior real career, and now on disability, there seemed little chance that anyone would give him that all vital opportunity to try.

He turned up everyday, and everyday he tried his very best in my class. It was a learning experience for both of us. I was becoming jaded by the lack lustre learners, and he by the lack of help.

It took some effort, but Robert stuck with the program. One day he asked me my advice, what career opportunities might exist for him? I thought about it long and hard. I could not see him as a programmer, and I was not sure that he would survive the grind of the help desk. I did however see a future for him in the hardware world. But to get hired as a technician you need a little piece of paper, in the trade it is known as an A+ certification. It is not an easy certification to obtain because it requires knowledge of many older hardware platforms that you are unlikely ever going to encounter.

Robert was certain that this was his chosen path. I encouraged him. I gave him some books and we talked frequently. The facility that I worked in had an operation that refurbished computers that were then given away to people that could not afford to buy one. It took a little arm twisting of management, but I managed to get Robert involved as a volunteer in the computer refurbishing project.

He worked hard, he put in more time and effort than any other volunteer I have ever met. It took two years, but Robert did get the coveted A+ certification. He was so happy that he sent me a copy of it!

In Alberta there is a small town by the name of Vulcan. It is the sort of place that if you blink, you would miss it. In a strange twist of fate Gene Roddenbery chose Vulcan as the home planet for the enormously successful Star Trek series. Vulcan, Alberta has bought into the concept.


My good friend Robert sent this picture of himself in Vulcan and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy).

vulcan2.jpgWhats the moral of this story? If you have the belief and the determination, anything is possible.

I salute Robert, he is living proof that grit and determination work.

Admire this man, he is what we need. He didn’t ask for a bail out, he just needed a hand up. I am glad that I was able to help in a small way.

Simon Barrett

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