Who's More "Inspiring": Sully Sullenberger, Michael J. Fox or Local Air Force Major?
Major Tobin Griffeth and Capt. Katie Illingworth
That's more or less the question being posed over on Beliefnet, where readers are being asked to vote for "The Most Inspiring Person of 2009." Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and the former Alex P. Keaton are among the nominees, but so too is University of Texas at Arlington grad Tobin Griffeth. He's a major in the U.S. Air Force, and, along with Capt. Katie Illingworth, Griffeth has found a way to make the annual Red River Shootout at the Cotton Bowl something slightly more meaningful than just another football game between Texas and Oklahoma:
Major Tobin Griffeth and Capt. Katie Illingworth, two Air Force officers serving at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, are nominated as Beliefnet's Most Inspiring People of the Year for turning the Battle of the Red River -- the University of Texas Longhorns vs. the University of Oklahoma Sooners -- into Operation Red River Cares, a charity drive for warm clothes, shoes, and school supplies for suffering Afghans.
"We started this because it's the right thing to do," said Griffeth, a graduate of the University of Texas, Arlington. "In a war where we'll spend millions on bombs or missiles, it only makes sense to spend money on clothes, or socks."
The twosome are way behind in voting, which ends December 12: They've got but 3 percent of the vote, which puts them way behind Sully at 27 percent and Fox at 14 percent. You know what that means, Friends of Unfair Park: Vote early and vote often. Seriously. You can vote once a day till polls close.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.