As general manager and chief lobbyist for South Dakota Newspaper Association, I spend a portion of every winter at the state capitol in Pierre, advocating for newspapers, the First Amendment and open government issues before legislators and others. Lobbying during the legislature involves “down time” -- waiting around the capitol to talk to legislators, sitting through lengthy committee hearings and more. It was during one of those down times a few years ago I took advantage of a mobile heart screening clinic being conducted at the state capitol. That heart screening changed my life, if not saved my life.
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Results of the screening led to further tests with a cardiologist in Sioux Falls and the discovery of severe heart disease. I had 90 percent blockages in three main coronary arteries.
I am grateful for the wonderful health care I’ve received here in South Dakota. I am blessed because I’ve been given a special opportunity to take better care of myself and do all that I can to live a healthy, wonderful life with my wife and two sons.
Excuse the pun, but I am serious when I say I’ve taken it all to heart. I exercise much more than I ever did. I eat much better these days. And I listen to my health-care providers. As a result, I feel better most days and I believe I live a more balanced, fulfilling life these days.
I also believe I have been given an opportunity to give back and that is one reason why I have chosen to be an advocate on behalf of the American Heart Association. If I can contribute in some small way to the wonderful, powerful work that AHA does, all the better.
It’s the least I can do, with the opportunities and blessings that have come my way.