Ol' Nate really enjoyed attending the Equality Florida, Suncoast Gala last night at the Art Ovation Hotel in Sarasota, Florida. Steve Graham and Phil Baker hosted a reception in Clark West and Elliott Mitchell's honor on Friday. Clark and Elliott started and funded the Patti Sue Mathis scholarship through the Point Foundation and have donated over three million dollars of their own money to fund equality projects at three major universities.

Clark's father was a Baptist minister in Dothan, Alabama where he attended school and then attended the University of Alabama. Elliott's mother and father divorced and surrendered him and his five brothers to Baptist Children's Homes in Troy, Alabama. By the time Elliott graduated, he was in a Baptist group home in Birmingham, Alabama. Elliott was then drafted and joined the Marines, where he served a tour in Vietnam. Using his GI Bill, Elliott also attended the University of Alabama. Clark and Elliott met at orientation and have now lived together more than 40 years. They were married after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was constitutional and now celebrate their anniversary in November.

These two have clearly been blessed by God. Next time you hear people talking bad about or bashing gay people, remember Clark and Elliott. Remember, I was once one of those people who spoke bad about gay people. My experience with my daughter, Patti Sue made me realize how wrong I was. I have asked God to forgive me and I ask all gay people to forgive me for my past words, actions, and deeds. Please think on these things. This is a story of two very good men with connections to the Wiregrass area!

Ol' Nate