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  • True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.
    It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever
    cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.

    Arthur Ashe

    Ren Breck’s idea of fun was to make a big difference in the world,
    and as he would often say, “Help wherever help was needed.”

    He did this through inspired computer networking long before the internet.

    Earthquakes, floods, wildfires were his specialty. Ren would find a way to
    jury rig a network of Macs to bring crisis management and relief to the stricken area.

    “Impossible” was not a word in his vocabulary.

    He ran the Notepad global conferencing network from his kitchen in San Rafael,
    and had a knack for knowing who to bring online to solve big problems.

    One evening, in 1986, he received an alert from a nuclear monitoring station in Sweden.
    They were getting readings of light radiation. Could he help track it down?

    Ren went immediately to satellite images of Europe and noticed a bright blue dot
    in the Ukraine.

    The bright blue dot indicated a temperature of 4000 degrees Fahrenheit at the Chernobyl
    Electric Power Station. The Russians were blacking out the news.


    Within hours, Ren had pulled together a global team of specialists, scientists
    and technical support to diagnose the disaster and create a solution which would
    shut down the reactor and contain the radioactivity.

    The mission was accomplished, although significant damage had already been done.

    A few years later, Ren Breck received a special medal of honor from the Soviet Academy of
    Sciences. He was credited with “saving 300 years of agriculture in the Ukraine.”

    Using a jury rigged network of Macs. From his kitchen. Before the internet.

    Ren Breck knew one man could always make a difference.

    So often in his life, he was that man.

    (Map of Chernobyl enhanced in APS by Alex)

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