I have been troubled over a way to present this column. I am biased in this case for the reason that the subject of my column is a longtime friend who is also a guilty party of a criminal offense.
If you have been following this space over the past few years, you have followed the footsteps of former Langston Golf Club General Manager Jimmy Garvin from the Florida sandlots to the catbird seat at Langston. Jimmy came to D.C. to attend Howard University and join their baseball team. Jimmy was a fireball pitcher under the watchful eye of former MLB standout and coach of Howard’s baseball team, Chuck Hinton. Jimmy was on his way to carving a niche as a baseball standout when he blew out his arm.
He had formed a relationship with Chuck, and they remained friends. This relationship led him to the golf course where he had the benefit of Chuck and Sam Lacy as mentors. I was often in the mix, and became fast friends with Jimmy.
When his job promoted him, he had to return to Florida to take up his new post. Unfortunately he fell under the ax when his company was forced to follow the- last-to-arrive-is-the-first-to-go rule that governs most companies during downsizing. Jimmy returned to D.C.
Once again reuniting with old friends, Jimmy took a job with the ground crew at Rock Creek Golf Club. This job enabled him to play free, and gave him enough cash to keep gravy on the table. Recognizing a diamond in the rough, golf course specialists offered him a job as GM of Langston Golf Club. His hard work and innovative ideas garnered him the post of President of Langston Legacy. This post opened up an avenue for him to implement a youth program. A computer center was installed and kids were invited to join the program. The catch was simple. You spent an hour in the lab, and then you were entitled to a free round of golf. The motto was, “Golf is the carrot, but education is the key”.
With this success he was promoted to vice president with the parent company. And, soon the Jimmy Garvin Legacy Foundation was born, taking golf into the 21st century. Throughout this journey, I was reporting as fast as the next shooting star was launched. I even thought of Jimmy as the role model these kids needed.
Just as my good friend had put a smile on my face, an event hit the news that served as a punch in my gut. The Harry Thomas Jr. embezzlement scandal hit the news. As the soldiers started to fall, Jimmy’s name popped up. It was alleged that more than $300,000 had been filtered through the Langston youth program. The news cameras covering the story focused on one of my columns that had been framed and hung on the wall.
For a spell there was a little activity on my phone, but it was soon realized that I knew nothing. I was hard pressed to find the right course of action in the coverage of this story. I chose to do nothing. I asked myself, “What do you say to a fallen friend?”