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The Meaning of a “Good Man”

I was raised by my grandparents, Juanita and Louis McNeil in Rock Hill, South Carolina. They both taught me so much about life and shaped much of who I am today. My grandfather was a quiet man, with a great sense of humor and an even bigger heart. Although he was a preacher’s son, you wouldn’t find him in church on most Sundays. He preferred instead to live a good sermon everyday, by sharing what little he had with others who had even less, and providing for his family. He was a consistent example of a good father and a good man. When he passed away I was only ten years old but I’ll never forget the scores of people from all over Rock Hill who came by to visit with my grandmother and share stories with her about how “Mr. Louis” had helped them and their family. Some of them, grown men, were moved to tears as they spoke about the kind man
my grandfather was. They shared how he would give them rides to the doctor, slip them a few dollars when they were short on the rent and give them a word of encouragement just when they needed it the most. Louis McNeil was a “good man”.

So it wasn’t much of a surprise when a mere seven years later, at the age of 17 and a freshman at USC, that I recognized many of those same characteristics in the second most important man in my life, Paul Brawley. Something immediately clicked between
us and he, like my grandfather, was fun to be around, had a great sense of humor and a kindness that was truly genuine. We got married on my 22nd birthday and now, 33 years later, I still find him to be the epitome of a “good man” – a provider for his family who leads with confidence in knowing who he is and where he’s going. Paul is a caring man who takes the time to give of himself to help others and, he too, lives a “good sermon” everyday. I’ve learned a lot about life from Paul through the relationship we share as husband and wife and best friends.

I am blessed to have these two wonderful men in my life and I thank God for their presence. It has shaped my expectation of what a “good man” should be and knowing and loving them have made me a better woman.

In this edition, we pay tribute to 9 other good men with the 2014 IMARA Man Tribute. Each of them is a shining example and a role model for their families and their communities.

Be blessed!

Paul and Wendy Brawley