June 23, 2007



Mike Sawyer

2102 Colony Park Drive
Birmingham, Alabama 35243



Dr. Ana M. Viamonte Ros M.D., MPH

Secretary & Surgeon General
Department of Health
4052 Bald Cypress Way
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1700


Dear Dr. Viamonte Ros,


A belated congratulations to you in this very important position in Florida.


Regretfully, I didn’t know until afterwards that you were the keynote speaker last May at the Public Health commencement service for the University of Florida. I did watch your address on the Internet video and now, when I think of the “have nots,” I think of you.


I was there the next day to hear Ms. Kate DiCamillo telling the grads to pursue dreams that may seem impossible and never lose your passion.


During Ms. Dicamillo’s short address, I thought back that it was an honor to me for over 20 different Florida county health departments to choose me to interview for the newly refunded Tobacco Prevention and Cessation position from past December to February.  (I could write a book on that experience from sleeping in my truck several cold nights to taking showers in truck stops in order to meet those out of state interviews. One interview, I had to call and say that financially I just could not make it.)


During these interviews it seem to be a consensus that I was “too passionate” for the state bureaucracy. One of the leaders courageously told me that during an interview in his health office. Several times he affirmed my passion by saying, “ But, there’s a place for you somewhere.”


Another county health director of many years told me that I should be leading Florida in tobacco prevention. One director asked me if hired, would I take a “time out” upon her request. Kind of funny.


You know we can’t create or inherit our passion, and we can’t conceal it. What other calling in life would be as deserving to use our passion than to serve others by promoting health especially for the have nots?


Please keep me near your heart, to help reduce the 87 daily tobacco related Florida deaths.


Fatherless by tobacco at the age of 11.


With compassion,


Mike Sawyer


Some published letters, pictures, and “Please, no smoking with child in car,” decals


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