Michael J. Kerrigan



On Saturday, July 27, 2013, the Canadian Open was in full swing at the Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ontario. Thirty-one-old U.S. pro golfer Hunter Mahan was leading the championship by two strokes—primed year to capture the first-place purse of more than a million dollars!

After a rain delay of eighty minutes, Mahan was on the driving range warming up for his 2:50 PM third round tee off. Suddenly his agent, Chris Armstrong, rushed up to him holding out a cell phone. Mahan took the phone, spoke briefly, exited the golf course, packed his gear, and headed off in a car to the airport.

What made Mahan quit his sure shot at victory?

On the phone was Mahan’s wife Kandi. She was pregnant with their first child, and the due date was August 16. But Kandi was calling from a car en route to the hospital because the expectant… Continue reading

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. The best kind of courage for Steve Baskis is when an individual risks one’s own life to save another. Steve does not believe courageous people confront more or less fear than people who lack courage. The difference is in how two persons manage a similar amount of fear. Steve believes people who are courageous push past the fear to accomplish something greater than them. For Steve, the courageous person could be acting without completely understanding the situation, it may be tiny pieces of fear all glued together propelling a person to take action.

Justin Constantine echoes Steve’s view by relating the courage of Major Doug Zembiec, who, in his fourth tour in Iraq, was killed when leading a raid. Major Zembiec’s quick thinking to re-orient his team’s machine… Continue reading

I am grateful for suggestions from readers of the Character Building Project as they have added value to our study of courage. It is proving to be a more complex topic than I first anticipated.  Because I recognize how probing the topic can be for young military  men and women who have experienced war zones, I want to prepare thoroughly, to hone well the interview questions that will shape this project.  I want them to be both empathetic and insightful. Continue reading

Since the passing of our good friend and my mentor Chuck Manatt (aka CTM), I must admit I have been dealing with, as Churchill used to say, “the black dog.” My wife Donna always seems to recognize not only black dog coming on but knows how to deal with him. Over our 43 years of marriage she has been slowly teaching me to appreciate poetry. May reading Thomas Gray’s “ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD”   help other of our friends mourning Chuck’s death as it did me. Continue reading

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Courage in America has been aurally transcribed for the visually impaired, thanks to Volunteers of Vacaville, California. Tel: 704.448.6841 ext 2044.