by Tom Rademacher, former columnist for the Grand Rapids Press
Joe Engel says he gives blood – 18 gallons to date – because he was talked into it by a former girlfriend he’d met while in college. But the more time you spend with him, one wonders if the reason isn’t just as closely tied to a lesson in grace that he learned during the same period in his life – inside a grimy service station on a cold winter’s night.
Nearly 40 years have passed, but Joe can still see his former boss, John Devine, performing an act of compassion that completely belied the gruff Irishman’s rugged exterior.
A family had limped their car into Devine’s Enco service station – long gone now – on a busy street corner in southeast Grand Rapids.