Looking out for one of our own
Chances are if you go into a well-attended business in Coweta County — especially in downtown Newnan — someone there will know him. They’ll likely even have a story to tell about something he said or did or was a part of.
He’s not an influential businessman or a fabulous celebrity or a well-known politician or a respected doctor, though he counts many of us within those professions as friends. He’s just a simple sports fan and small-town icon who, until recently, sadly, never forgets a name or a face, or a box score.
Put simply, he’s Boomer.
And Danny “Boomer” Bishop is desperately battling a losing fight against cancer.
What started as skin cancer progressed late last year into lung cancer and has now spread to his bones and throughout his body.
In that time, the community has rallied behind him, throwing him a surprise birthday party, honoring him at football games, wearing T-shirts in his honor, offering positive support and, most importantly, being there for him during his fight against the deadly disease.
We all have a Boomer story. He’s been around seemingly forever, patrolling the streets of Newnan on foot wearing his signature ball cap and Cougars team jacket and eagerly talking sports, and always checking in on you and yours.
Newnan. Northgate. East Coweta. The Heritage School. The highs and lows of our high school teams over the years have been Boomer’s academic and prognosticating playground. He’s lived and breathed prep sports. And he’s always been included among those teams’ most beloved supporters, his challenge many times to find a ride for road games.
Today, Boomer’s greatest challenge is struggling in and out of consciousness.
He rests in a room at Avalon Health and Rehabilitation surrounded by well-wishing cards, flowers and Cougar paraphernalia. If there’s a Braves baseball game on, you can certainly bet his TV is tuned in.
When we first learned of Boomer’s illness and swift decline, our first thoughts turned to whether he had enough emotional support, family or friends to help him with his troubling journey. Though everyone knows him, and indeed has a story to tell, Boomer has always appeared to be a loner. He’s never married, never had a family. Always walking.
As it turns out, he’s had a whole community answering the call. Several of our local leaders visit him daily. So do the many athletes Boomer has enjoyed watching on the field. Just recently, several of our state legislators visited and honored him with an official proclamation recognizing Boomer for his community spirit, sports enthusiasm and goodwill to his fellow citizens. Still others stop in now and then simply to hold his hand.
Unfortunately, these days he often doesn’t recognize the faces of the people he knows so well.
Boomer is a unique person who holds a special place in our hearts. He’s the common denominator to many of us reading the news this morning in our widely disparate worlds.
He never invented anything. He never made millions or moved mountains. But Boomer has united a community nonetheless.