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Letter: River Hill's Austin Altman is leader on, and off, the field

12:10 PM EST, January 18, 2013

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I was excited to read about Austin Altman in the Columbia Flier ("Hawks' Altman passes for a pro," Jan. 3), not because I'm a sports fan (I'm not) but because I met Austin earlier that same day.  

As a college marketing rep, I speak to students in schools across Maryland. Friday, Jan. 4 I was waiting in the River Hill High School office for a student to guide me to the classroom.  My escort was Austin; he was accompanied by a young man with special needs. Apparently Austin gets credit for helping this young man, but what I observed went way above and beyond the call of duty. As we walked back to the classroom, I observed Austin engaging this young man in a playful banter. It was charming. Back in the classroom, this banter continued but I noticed that Austin was helping his charge work on an assignment.

Austin's gentle spirit was evident in his friendship with this young man. I was stunned and mentioned this to the teacher. She shared that Austin even lets this other student wear his football jersey on game days.

Austin Altman is a hero. He exemplifies everything that is good about young people today and, for this, I'm his fan.

Debi Vreeland

Columbia