Each year when the weather turns bad in the Midwest, and the theme of holiday parties are in the air, we seem to hear more about accidents and fatalities involving drunk drivers.

Cameron Freeman was just 21 years old last fall. The date was November 23rd to be exact.

He was in a car with three other friends, who were hit by a person driving while intoxicated, and in a stolen pick-up truck.

Three of the friends were injured. Cameron was not so lucky.

Cameron was born on December 7th, 1989. For the historical buffs like me, that is a pretty important day in the annals of the history of our country. It also coincidentally is the day I lost my mother in law to cancer some years ago.

Most parents would be full of rage and hate. I myself have thought about I would have acted in this moment of crisis. I can tell you from some of my own personal experiences in life that you really do not know for sure how you react to extreme adversity until you are square in the middle of the situation and facing it. When adversity strikes with full force, you react based on your morals, beliefs, upbringing and values. In my opinion in these moments you don’t choose how to act or react, things you have done your entire life, the things you believe and who you really are has already chosen your reaction for you.

So instead of being full of hate, anger and resentment, Paul and Shelly Freeman, the parents of Cameron, responded this way….

An excerpt from the Lincoln Journal Star from November 30th of 2010 –

“Wouldn’t it be lovely if we used the number 7,” said Shelley. “Instead replace that anger with seven acts of compassion.”

And that’s how Shelley would like her son to be remembered.

“That could be Cameron legacy, I would love for that to be Cameron’s legacy,” said Shelley. “With fondness it would be nice if we could call that the Cameron effect.”

So, the Freemans forged full ahead and with the help of some friends started the Cameron Effect.

Many businesses in the Lincoln area have jumped on board. Union Bank has distributed money via some of their employees. These individuals go around town and hand out envelopes of money in the form of $100 bills to complete strangers.

Here at our workplace, the unit of people I work with is doing something similar this year. A pool of money was put together and then was a few of us will take the divided up funds and use that to make a difference to someone else. Our only charge is to report back to the members of our team with what you did, and why you chose the person or people that you chose to give your gift to during this holiday season.

The media locally tends to give this plenty of coverage and for good reason. It is nice to reflect on something good happening in the world instead of always reading about bad economy, unemployment, politics, the latest crimes, and all of the other bad things that fill our newspapers and evening newscasts.

So in this holiday season, be thankful for what you have and if possible, pass along the Cameron Effect to someone where you live. Tell your co-workers about it. Pay it forward.

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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