Jack Higgins is well-known in these parts. He was brought up in Brant Lake, but everyone he touches no matter where they come from become a part of his community. And hes touched a lot of people. If your car has ever broken down and someone came and helped you out, it very well may have been Jack Higgins. Jack is a man in his 80s with a youthful glint behind his trademark horn-rimmed glasses. You might also recognize him because of the way he wears his T-shirt backwards and inside-out on account of the tags bugging the heck out of him. People tend not to talk much about this, but his friend Frog told me how one time, Jack was in the local Stewarts store and some lady said to him, Good morning, Father! Jack looked at her all confused and said, Why did you say that? After she explained it was on account of his black shirt with the white tag hanging out the front, Jack asked her to please cut the tag off. Some people might think of Jack as a sort of religious figure for other reasons, though hed probably be the last person to think so. Jacks mission in life is to keep people from suffering, and if you go to his house, youll see walls filled with awards and special honors for all the ways he does this. But its not all the merits that make Jack who he is, its who Jack decides to be every day that people keep recognizing. Even when Jacks sitting in his cozy living room relaxing with his wife Eleanor of over 50 years, hes surrounded by police scanners and pagers, ready for any and all emergencies. His wife has gotten used to it. The phone rings off the wall, she says, adding that its just a matter of time before someones got a fire that needs putting out, or a loved one who needs CPR. Then, the boots go on and Jacks back in his truck, a vehicle thats so used up, someone at Stewarts told me hes the man who put duct tape back on the market. Its hard to say how Jack Higgins turned out the way he did. Maybe he was born that way, or maybe it started back in 1942, when he was sent to fight in World War II. Jack and his brothers in the 397th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion saw some pretty gruesome things in wartime, particularly when they helped liberate hundreds of people from the Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany. Maybe it was then that he decided it was his business to make sure people werent suffering. But however it began, Jack Higgins cannot drive down the road and see someone stranded without stopping. These days though, Jacks in business for himself, and the Stewarts in Chestertown is his headquarters. Every morning you can find him there drinking coffee with his friends, talking politics or telling tall tales, and if someone needs him, they know where to find him. Sometimes, theyll even call over there looking for him, like his daughter did the other day when I managed to get my car stuck on the top of an ice embankment. Well, 20 minutes later, who did I see, but Jack Higgins, that jolly man with the glint in his eye, whos always ready to lend a hand, or a bulldozer in some cases, and have a nice conversation in the meantime. As his friends in Stewarts say, Everybody loves Jack. Hes a real good egg.