November 2008 Ethical Hero – Peter Westbrook

Published: November 13, 2008

By Jim Lichtman
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Peter WestbrookPeter Westbrook is an Olympic medal-winning fencer who sees an inextricable connection between being your best and being compassionate. Although his principle and story are straightforward, his journey through anger and pain to compassion is a remarkable example for all of us to strive to demonstrate.

Peter shared this incredible story in my book, “What Do You Stand For?”

“When my mother was beaten and killed on a New Jersey bus for no reason, it allowed me to stand up for my convictions. I prayed to the Creator that the person who killed my mother would learn to appreciate other people’s lives more and also her own.

“When the prosecutor’s office wanted to put her away for many, many years, I disagreed in hope that if she could be remorseful, she could be used better on the outside serving humanity rather than in prison serving no one. I asked for her sentence to be shortened and it was.

”What I also received from my mother’s death is a completion of myself. I have a finer appreciation of sadness, loss, and compassion for others that one cannot understand unless it happens to you. However, most of the time the loss of a loved one through violence makes the person living experience so much anger, pain, and rage that it sometimes destroys them or stifles their growth, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It had the opposite effect on me. It made me more complete.

“God is good to me.”

Peter teaches fencing, discipline, and much more, to inner city kids through the Peter Westbrook Foundation in New York City.

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