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Goodfriend, a Good Man

I haven’t seen Sidney Goodfriend since 1974, when we were in the eighth grade at the Columbia Grammar School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He left, I stayed, and that was that — but I remembered him because how could you forget a name like Sidney Goodfriend?

Today, in the Washington Post, I found out what happened to Sidney Goodfriend. Turns out he has become a genuinely noble person:

 With his own money, and using his Wall Street connections, Goodfriend, 48, founded a group called American Corporate Partners, which pairs returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan with mentors from the corporate world. He has enlisted six companies — Campbell’s, PepsiCo, Home Depot, Verizon, General Electric and investment bank Morgan Stanley — that have each promised to offer returning vets 50 mentors, in eight cities.

The mentors pledge to spend four hours each month for a year meeting with their assigned veteran, and the meetings could take most any form: lunch, a fishing trip, a golf outing.

“These folks come back, and in their first year, they don’t know anybody, and they especially don’t know anybody in the corporate sector,” Goodfriend said. “There is no way for them to transition easily into corporate America.”

Goodfriend said the priority is helping disabled or severely wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, or the spouses or relatives of soldiers killed in action. “If you had to give preference, you’d probably give preference to those who sacrificed more,” he said…..

And what drives him? “It’s a lot more meaningful than being a banker,” he said. “I’m probably too old to enlist, so this is my way of making a contribution.”

He added, “If you said 10 years ago I’d be doing this, I would have been astonished.”

It makes me proud to think he attended my bar mitzvah.



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