by David "Alligator" Williams
GUEST OPINION: The Loss of Silent Greatness

“In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make” – The Beatles.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about that classic Beatle lyric.  There is just so much wisdom in that lyric.  I’ve come to understand though that there is some un-truth in there as well.  Obviously, some people take a lot more love than they deserve, but also some people make more love than they even realize.

A great man died in Huntington this past week.  There were not any breaking news stories.  His picture was not on the front page of The Herald-Dispatch.  But, Rob Lake proved The Beatles wrong.  Rob Lake changed lives probably without even knowing it.  There will be a lot more love in the world someday because of the work Rob did at River Park Hospital.  Rob Lake made way more love than he took.
To a lot of people, a Mental Health Technician is not a very important job.  A college degree is not even required to perform it.  But, Rob performed his duties like probably no other tech ever has.  Rob Lake changed lives. 

Rob took an interest in the lives of the troubled kids that he has worked with.  Many of these kids have gotten their lives off to a bad start and have just given up.  Rob showed these youth  that their lives are important.  He taught them that it is never too late.  He invested years of trust and care into some of these kids.  He taught them to believe in themselves and to believe in others.  He did it by spending time with them, by looking them in the eye and being truthful with them, and he did it by smiling at them and giving them the kind word that some people may not think that they deserve.
Rob Lake was an example of a man going way beyond his job description.  Rob Lake had “quiet greatness.”  To me, silent greatness is when someone quietly gives part of themselves to community because they care about others and they do it in a way that does not bring recognition to themselves. We need more Rob Lakes in Huntington.  We need more people who recognize the potential greatness in others and help them bring that greatness to the surface.
Rob Lake was also the perfect teammate.  When I worked at River Park Hospital as a tech, Rob made me feel like I belong.  He was the perfect teammate.  He just had a way of looking someone in the eye and making you feel like he had your back. 
Rob’s love will be out there for years.  When the teenagers he worked with graduate from high school or college, or get married, or obtain meaningful jobs, Rob’s love will still be there.  Because Rob taught many of the children he worked with how to love themselves, and that is the first step in making more love.  Many of the youth Rob worked with will make love in their lives because Rob believed in them and taught them to believe in themselves.

Huntington will someday be a better place because of people like Rob Lake.  You do not have to be a prize-winning author, a scientist, or a great doctor to make your community and the world a better place.  The key to making your community a better place is often just reaching out and giving more of yourself to another person, whether it be in your job, a relationship, a friendship, as a volunteer, or just a selfless act to a stranger.  The more love that we each make means there is more love for each to take.
Robert Lake died young at 45, but In the end the love Rob Lake took is way less than the love he made.