January 2017

Bachelors of the Year! It's A Tie for the Title!

Author: Barry Kaufman & Courtney Hampson | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Joel Klock
When I started covering the Bachelor of the Year, I was not old enough to be the mother of the bachelor. I realized this as my editor texted me that there was a tie this year, two winners, whose combined age puts them in the same generation as me. I am a lame old lady who puts on her pajamas as soon as she gets home from work, even when it is still light out; as such I started to wonder if I am the correct person to be writing this story. So, to even the score, I asked my Line in the Sand foe to take on bachelor number two. After all, Barry is a husband and father of three, so he clearly has more in common with a 24-year-old single dude than I do. Maybe not, but what this brilliant idea will yield is a tie breaker and the clear winner of the C2 Bachelor of the Year contest, which is all anyone is really looking for, right?

Let’s start with this. He was late. I was early. So, I waited 25 minutes. I spent most of that down time thinking about the 2011 Bachelor of the Year, Ben Wolfe. He was late, too. As I sat waiting for Bachelor 2016, I sent Ben a quick message to update him on the current situation, to which he responded, “Poor guy doesn’t know what he’s got coming …” I am pretty sure Ben was referring to the interview, not the glory, that the Bachelor of the Year reign offers.
Any minute now I am going to introduce you to Joel Klock. He just has to show up first. Until then, I will make up some things. He has 27 cats, all named for his favorite comic book characters. He’s only been incarcerated twice. His socks and underwear are color coded by day. And, his favorite movie is The Little Mermaid.

Okay. Those are all lies. Enter Joel Klock. He’s here. And not even winded, despite having to drive around the parking lot twice before parking at Target and jogging to Starbucks.
In fairness, Joel was en route from school on a Friday afternoon. He is a history teacher at Hilton Head Island High School. A Yankee, by way of New York. A Niagara University graduate. And a confirmed bachelor. So, I had to ask, “What’s up? Um, Joel. Why in the world did you do this?”

“Actually, my old roommate’s girlfriend nominated me. She said, ‘Joel, this sounds like you; let’s do it,’ to which I replied, ‘No, this doesn’t sound like me. At all.’ She nominated me anyway. When the magazine started calling, I was not interested,” he said.

“I said no the first time they called. And the second time. And the third. Finally, on the fourth call, they said, last chance… and I thought, do something different, Joel. And I am glad I did; it has been a lot of fun.”

So, with that, Joel rolled the dice, dubbed the Hilton Head Athletics Booster Club as his charity and began his campaign. He started spreading the word to garner votes from fellow teachers, his principal, and even his students and players (he coaches baseball, too), and their parents. His social network was also activated as he called upon his friends and family back home, and all along the Eastern Seaboard.

Actually, it is that very network of relationships that landed Joel in the South to begin with, just a couple years ago. Two of his older brother’s buddies were teachers on the island, and they knew of an opening at the high school. They asked Joel, a recent college grad, if he was interested. It took him all of 10 seconds to weigh the options: golf, beach, job… yes, he was interested. Joel had a phone interview with the principal a couple days later (a Thursday), hopped in the car, interviewed in person on Friday, and was in the classroom teaching on Monday.

To say he is spontaneous would be the understatement of the year. Joel credits his parents for always being supportive and giving him the confidence to take risks. “They always let me (and my brother) do our own thing, and they were supportive of everything we did. They let us follow our passions, not theirs.”

Joel’s first love is sports, and part of the reason he chose education as his career path. After playing baseball all his life (including at the college level), he was eager to find a way to stay involved in sports. After test driving a mixed bag of courses his first semester, he found that his education class was his favorite, and so he took more—always thinking about teachers and coaches who influenced him along the way.

It is the kids who come back after having Joel as a teacher who leave their mark. “When they come back and tell me they did well on an assignment in another class because of something I taught them, it’s not even about the content of the interaction,” he says, “It is about the relationship with the kids. The opportunity to be a mentor.” One of his economics students asked him to write a letter of recommendation, quipping, “It’s going to Harvard, Mr. Klock. No pressure.” Joel wrote the letter, and guess what? That kid just got accepted to Harvard.
If I asked his students and baseball players what they think of him, Joel tells me they would say he likes to have fun in class, he relates well, he follows the rules (but isn’t overly strict), he doesn’t take himself too seriously, and above all he is passionate. Sometimes too passionate he said. “But if passion in my biggest problem, I’ll take it.”

Joel squeezes the toothpaste from the middle (and doesn’t see anything wrong with that. Bravo!) He hates folding clothes, and is perfectly happy taking the clean clothes out of the dryer and keeping them in the laundry basket to pick from when needed. He likes to cook, has been working on his mom’s recipes and recently perfected a stromboli. Heck, he’ll even wash the dishes. He prefers the beach to the mountains, hardcover books over Nooks, is a die-hard Yankees fan, and seeing a game in all Major League Baseball parks is on his bucket list.

Speaking of lists, ladies, if you’re picking up what Joel is putting down, here are a few items that you need to check. He’s looking for a self-sufficient woman, independent with her own interests. “I want real conversations. I don’t want to text back and forth all day with minute-by-minute details. I want to have something to talk about.” His type is tall and athletic. He loves food and would prefer someone who enjoys eating and cooking (versus just pushing food around a plate). He wants someone outgoing and willing to try different things (“like my cooking”). She must love dogs. And understand that golf is the thing he does with his buddies, not her.

So, a tall eater, who likes to talk. Got it.

Seriously, though, single women of the Lowcountry, this is a guy with a perpetual smile (even when running late and getting sassy texts from the stranger waiting for him), who respects his mom, dedicates hours upon hours to his students and players, keeps his apartment clean so his roommate’s girlfriend won’t get mad, who wants to cook for you and maybe, just maybe is starting to like all this attention after all.

___________

Daniel Lentz

It’s a term that has been worn out well past the point of uselessness: good people.
“Oh so-and-so? Yeah, he hooked me up with a discount on dry cleaning. Good people.”
“Oh yeah, that guy lets me use his Netflix password. Good people.”
These are not good people. They’re okay people. They are the baseline of good behavior that fulfills the social contract we’ve all made with one another to be halfway decent, but that’s where it ends.

I only rally against that because by using the phrase “good people” to describe merely “okay people,” you devalue everything that the phrase stands for. It’s supposed to describe people who are selfless, innately so. People who put others before themselves without a second thought. And who do so without any desire for praise or attention.

People who call you “sir” on the phone if they haven’t met you.

People who will step up without a second thought to champion those in need and those suffering. Good people.

Good people used to mean something. And it’s time we took that phrase back from the okay people.

Because Daniel Lentz, co-bachelor of the year, is “good people”—in all the magnificent ways that phrase was originally created to describe. He’s selfless. He’s giving. And he called me “sir” on the phone.

Look, I don’t know Joel Klock, the co-bachelor currently being hyped up by Courtney over there. But I hope he’s good people too. His dog’s cute, and he can rock a casual lean on a wall while reading a newspaper; I’ll give him that. Other than that, I know nothing about the guy. He may be good people. He may be okay people.

Fact is, I know barely anything about Daniel Lentz, either. But the few things I know tell me that I’m pretty safe in singing his praises here. Let’s start with his charity.

I’ve been blessed to meet a few of the people from Memory Matters over the years. They’re good people. And they do good things. Great things even, to help those in the most delicate stages of their life as dementia creeps in and the warm and familiar world around them slowly vanishes. These are people who have made their life work reaching out to the unreachable, knowing there will be no reward other than the intangible knowledge you’ve possibly brightened someone’s darkest days.

Among these saints you’ll find Daniel, who not only works as their marketing and training coordinator, he’s named Memory Matters the charitable beneficiary of his Bachelor of the Year win. When he came on board with Memory Matters, his first question to executive director Edwina Hoyle was, “Where do the people come in? How do I serve the people?”

The answer came in the form of a massive initiative to educate area businesses on the unique needs of residents living with dementia. Seventy-five businesses have received Daniel’s training, creating one of the first dementia-friendly communities in the United States. To ensure he was doing it right, Daniel even reached out to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America to become a qualified dementia care specialist. It’s worth emphasizing: this was something Daniel volunteered for during his interview.

You can understand why a brief flirtation with politics after college ultimately proved unfulfilling. Daniel wanted to be part of something and, in his own words, “politics wasn’t it.”

The other, and perhaps even more noble, reason why Daniel is my pick for Bachelor of the Year comes in the form of his three nieces. I don’t know them, either. But I hope someday they realize what a magnanimous human being their uncle is.

When their father, Daniel’s brother Zach, was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s, Daniel rushed to his brother’s aid. In just three months, Daniel established a campaign while still enrolled in college at Clemson that raised $10,000 to fund deep brain stimulation treatment.
That alone, helping those three little girls get a shot at having their father walk down the aisle with them, would be enough to qualify Daniel as good people. But it’s not even close to why he has truly earned that title with this Bachelor of the Year win.

You see, in addition to a father with early onset Parkinson’s, those three little girls recently found out their mother, Michelle, has stage-four breast cancer. Daniel entered this contest to help ease the financial burden of her chemotherapy, and give those three little girls hope they so desperately need.

He didn’t do it to be in a magazine. He didn’t do it so you might vote for him based on his hair, his smile or his dog.

Fact is, he barely even told anyone why he was doing it. When I asked him about giving the winnings to his sister-in-law, he asked me how I’d heard, his voice cracking with emotion.
He did this whole thing for three reasons: those three little girls who just want some more time with their mother. Who just want to have their daddy walk them down the aisle someday, and want to grow up knowing their mom. Without someone to fight for them, they wouldn’t have either.

“I don’t like being in the limelight,” Daniel said of the contest. “But I saw it as an opportunity.”
It’s why Daniel is good people.

I don’t know the other bachelors. But I know good people. And by God, Daniel Lentz is one of the great people.

“I’m grateful. It’s $2,500 to go to my sister in law’s chemotherapy. It’s $2,500 to serve our families at Memory Matters. It’s been rewarding to know I can finally help.”
You know, maybe we’re all good people.

Maybe we all want to help, but don’t know how. Maybe we just need to see someone like Daniel showing us how it’s done.

It might even be that there are a few good people reading this. And maybe those good people don’t want to see those three little girls grow up without a mother.

I’m willing to bet those people might just be willing to help Daniel make up the difference that one vote in his direction didn’t.

Those good people can go here: gofundme.com/CH2daniel.

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