Dear Book Club Members,

Please allow me this opportunity to thank you for taking time out of your very busy lives to learn a bit about Mike.

As his brother, I made a promise to Mike some 34 years ago that I'd someday tell his remarkable story. I proudly proclaimed to him three weeks ago that I have finally delivered!

I like to think of myself as sort of an "educated hillbilly." Born and raised in West Virginia, I have stayed true to my country roots (ok...that's not completely true; I can't remember the last time I listened to country music ). I currently reside in sunny Arizona. I'm fairly well traveled, but I can see myself settling down in a country setting, far away from the stresses that accompany the "rat race."

Some random things about me:

I never turn down pasta (I do a lot of running!)
I love to laugh, even if the joke's on me.
I try to walk a mile in someones shoes before I pass judgment.
I've met Jesse Owens.
I'm a college football fanatic.
I'm pretty good (or so I've been told) at math.

Now, on to the book! Please note that the book deals with some sensitive material. There will be times you'll feel sickened, angry and distressed. But you'll also be inspired, amused and highly entertained.

Above all -- and this is my reason for writing -- you will be moved!

I'm going to try and do something a little different in the question and answer portion. Each week, along with the direct questions, I'll be asking two or three very poignant questions which will require some introspection.

Again, thanks to the community for welcoming me, and for affording me this opportunity!

Feel free to ask anything of me. I can't promise that I'll be available all the time, but I will make every effort to respond honestly and promptly to any and all inquiries.


Ed O'Dell