Columnist - Howell Dennis

I’ve been writing my weekly column for the Post-Signal for over two years now. During that time I’ve written on politics, done movie reviews, talked some LSU football and generally relayed my opinion on most of the big stories that have occurred during this period. I’ll be honest though, sometimes it’s downright hard to find something to write about every week.

The past few weeks have been pretty easy with Michael Jackson’s passing, the goings on in Iran and North Korea, and my facebook addiction to use as topics. However, this has been one of those tough weeks when I just sit and stare at my computer screen, surfing the web looking for something to inspire me. This week, however, it didn’t take very long.

While reading through all the headlines that cheer us up on a daily basis such as “Ahmadinejad vows Iran will destroy Western foes” and “Chinese-born engineer guilty of espionage” I came across a story that helped me to remember that there are some really good people in this world.

A man from Massachusetts named Ronald Lappin, who lost 90% of his personal fortune due to the actions of that scumbag Bernard Madoff, recently paid $5 million out of his own pocket to restore the retirement savings of his employees who lost money in Madoff’s multibillion dollar theft. Unfortunately Lappin, like many other people, fell for Madoff’s scam and put him in charge of his employee’s 401(k)’s.

Lappin estimates that he lost $90 million in Madoff’s scam - leaving him with a net worth of just under $15 million. So basically he gave his employee’s a third of his entire savings so that they could recoup the money they lost in Madoff’s infamous Ponzi Scheme.

And his reason for doing so - “I just wanted to do the right thing.”

Madoff will deservedly be spending the rest of his life behind bars and Lappin will be free, albeit a little less comfortable (even though most people I know would be very happy with Lappin’s bank account). However, unlike Madoff, at least Lappin can look himself in the mirror every day.

And eventually, when both men meet their maker, I imagine that Lappin’s comfort level will be much higher than that of Mr. Madoff.

Howell Dennis is a native of Lafayette, La. He attended the University of Texas at Arlington where he graduated in journalism and public relations.

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