Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Amputee Apologizes for Fabricating Story About His Leg, Says Story "Snowballed"

I found the following article from the Tuesday Metro Section The Daily Oklahoman very interesting:

The executive director of an Oklahoma City-based organization providing prosthetic limbs to the needy has apologized to donors and supporters for perpetuating a false story about how he lost his own leg.

For years, Craig Gavras, director of the Limbs for Life Foundation, has been known as a former Dallas police officer who lost his leg after being attacked by an angry mob.

In actuality, Gavras was never a police officer, although he was a Dallas police recruit when he injured his right knee while jogging in 1989. The injury caused him to resign from the police academy, and the leg – which had already been operated on several times due to an earlier sports injury – was amputated in 1993.

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News last week, Gavras said that he lied about his background and injury at a symposium sometime around 1996 because “an accident in the academy just didn’t sound glamorous.”

His lie appeared in news stories over the years, including some in The Oklahoman, and he didn’t take steps to correct it.

“I was doing some speeches around the country, and the intros got embellished,” he told The Oklahoman on Monday. “I didn’t correct it at the time. It perpetuated and snowballed, and I didn’t know how to stop it.”

Friday night, Gavras posted an apology on the foundations’ Web site, said Ryan McGhee, the foundation’s public relations director. Gavras apologized to about 500 donors and supporters Saturday at the foundation’s ninth annual benefit gala at the Dallas Trade Mart.

“The hardest part was taking that first step in front of them,” Gavras said. “I was extremely scared and extremely embarrassed, but when I was finished, I knew it was the right thing to do.”

The foundation’s board chairman, Denielle Taylor, posted words of support for Gavras on the foundation Web site.

“We fully support…Gavras’ excellent work to support the amputee community over the past 15 years,” Taylor wrote, “We will continue to work to improve the lives of amputees worldwide.”

The foundation has given limbs to more than 10,000 amputees and is part of an effort to help supply artificial limbs and therapy to victims of the earthquake in Haiti.


Bob Cleveland said...

Don't mean to make a pun, but the first step's always the hardest. Then they get easier and you find the first one was easier than the wrestling match that was going on, anyway.

No telling how many lessons about other sorts of things there are, hiding in there in plain sight.

jasonk said...

Several years ago at Falls Creek, Bill Tanner introduced the speaker for the week, referring to him as "Dr. ..." When he took the stage, he graciously thanked Dr. Tanner for the warm introduction, and stated that he always had made a practice of defending himself when accused of something he did not do. The flip side of that, he said, was that you have to be prepared to correct someone when they give you credit for something good, that you did not do. He said at that moment that he had never earned a doctorate, and was therefore not a Dr. I thought that was pretty classy.

Anonymous said...

I had a professor who allowed students to call him/her "Dr. X" while never correcting them. This professor only has a Master's degree. I never respected that person very much. said...


Do you remember the speaker introduced by Dr. Tanner?

Steve said...

Nevertheless, I'm still going to address all my barely-walking friends as "Mister" or "Miss."

That way, when I do encounter a puffed-up proud title-bearer, they don't know I am treating them like a 2-year old.

Tom Kelley said...

Wade Burleson said...

Do you remember the speaker introduced by Dr. Tanner?

I can think of a person or two that it probably wasn't. :)

Word verification: caner. (No, not really; I lied. But that would have been pretty funny, huh?)

Frank (or Chip) said...

A great lesson to all of us who might be tempted to claim to be more than we are. I tell my students that if they insist on calling me "doctor" my response will be to bill their insurance.

Dr. errrrr Mr. Lamca
Professor errrrrr Instructor of Christian Studies

PS to Kevin, you might want to cut the professor (who was likely an instructor since he had a Masters) some slack. There are only so many times in a classroom setting before you give up making the correction.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Wade - this reminded me of a police chief in Gainesville, Florida in the 80's and 90's named Waylon Clifton. You can Google his name and read about him.

He was very, very popular. He was bold and brash, and very effective as sheriff. He had a Sylvester Stallone look, and he was not afraid to take on the powerful in the city. However, he had a preoccupation with his looks and his hair and his personna, which was well documented. But we liked the job he did in keeping us safe.

He was our police chief in one of the most dark periods in our city, when we had the student murders in the fall of 1990, when 7 students were viciously murdered over a period of a week or so.

But he had a character flaw that did him in. For most of his career he bragged to people about how he played football for Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama. He spoke about it publicly often.

But eventually the story came out that he never, ever, played football for Bama. He even went so far as to alter a newstory article to try and put the rumors to rest.

This story foiled his attempt to run for sheriff of the county, and possibly cost him a shot at the police chief job in Toledo, Ohio. He had his sights on other political offices, and he probably would have succeeded if not for this lie that he continued to tell and then tried to cover up.

Rex Ray said...

“It’s the voice of a god and not of a man! At once an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give the glory to God, and he became infected with worms and died.” (Acts 12: 22-23)

By chance, I stopped where a large group of men had gathered to build a house. They had blueprints but no one could read them. In a few hours, all the walls were up. As I walked away one man believed I was an angel, but I sure didn’t do what Heriod did.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 6:00 am

My words exactly. Finally someone making some sense. Amen.

New BBC Open Forum said...
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