After the recent Nobel Peace Prize Forum at Augsburg College in Minneapolis I posted a small album of 46 photographs of the Forum on Facebook.
I chose as the “cover photo” the grainiest of the lot, taken by someone with a cell phone of my friend, Melvin Giles, giving a small Peace Pole to former S. Africa President and 1993 Nobel Laureate F. W. deKlerk.
Melvin is one of those legions of unsung heroes of contemporary life: people who make a difference almost anonymously.
For St. Paul’s Frogtown native Melvin Giles, the passion is a more peaceful community and world. And he walks the talk.
I don’t recall exactly when I first met him, but I’m guessing it was about six years ago, when this enthusiastic guy showed up at a meeting I was attending and started blowing bubbles, those you often see after weddings. I was the President of the organization then, and Melvin came as one of the reps, and he lit up the room.
I got to know him as the Peace Pole Guy, and if you’re interested in Peace Poles and related links he’d recommend this internet link. He’s an authorized representative in the midwest for this organization, the original Peace Pole Makers in the United States. He is also Regional Peace Representative of World Peace Prayer Society (WPPS). He says, “I consider them the god-parents of the Peace Pole and Peace Message: May Peace Prevail On Earth. WPPS works on a global level and on programs and projects that are youth focus, as well as inter-generational.”
As time has gone on Melvin and I have gotten to know each other a bit better, and my first impression has been reconfirmed over and over. In an unreal world, Melvin’s the real deal. What you see is what you get: a kind, gentle man.
He’s given small peace poles to previous Nobel Laureates at the Forum, and this year was no exception.
See the photo gallery about Melvin below. If you’re ever in the market for a Peace Pole, I’m sure Melvin would be glad to help out. You can reach him at PeaceBubblesATqDOTcom.
“May Peace Prevail on Earth.”
UPDATE March 17, 2012: from Deborah Moldow of World Peace Prayer Society: What a lovely and fitting tribute to a peacemaker of the first order!
Melvin does more than walk his talk: he lives it. From the first, he understood the meaning of the Peace Pole project in a very deep way – and proved it over and over among the diverse population of the Frogtown community.
My very favorite Melvin achievement is the Peace Pole outside the police station that welcomes the immigrant communities with a message of peace in their own languages. Brilliant.
I am proud to know Melvin and absolutely delighted to see him recognized by your loving words. Thanks so much for sharing them with me.
May Peace Prevail on Earth!
(click on photos to enlarge them)