by Dan Gura
Activist Dan Wenzel
“Doctor” Vinod Goyal is one of the Chicago area’s most prolific abortionists, owning or operating a string of five suburban mills. Since July of 2002, pro-life activists have peacefully gathered in front of his Inverness, Illinois house or at the entrance to his exclusive subdivision on the third Saturday of each month.
Jim Finnegan and I have been privileged to lead the witnesses for life in raising our voices in prayer, reading the Bible, and making his neighbors and passers-by aware of how Goyal makes his living.
Unfortunately, as all too often happens, what began as a group of well over a hundred dwindled to the point that the vigils were suspended. But Jim refused to allow the effort tofade away and urged we gather together before the winter winds blow to remind Goyal that we will never stop until he stops killing babies. Saturday, October 20 from 1-2 p.m. was picked as the date and time for our return.
Unfortunately, Jim had a commitment out of state and was unable to attend. So, early that morning I loaded my pickup truck with our signs and banners and set off for work. Saturdays are typically my busiest day of the week, but I had only one appointment scheduled—in far south suburban Sauk Village at 10 a.m.—and was confident I would arrive in Inverness with plenty of time to spare. God had other plans.
Due to an incredible traffic jam on the Tri-state Tollway—which Newsradio 780 never even mentioned—I arrived seven minutes late at Goyal’s house; no one was there.
Keeping in mind Joe Scheidler’s admonition to never picket alone, I sat in my truck and prayed, while I waited to see if any other stragglers would show up. Five minutes slowly ticked by, then ten. After fifteen minutes, I was still alone and decided to leave.
I will admit I was discouraged, maybe even a little disheartened, as I left for home until I rounded the curve and saw an elderly man walking along side the road. Now you must understand that seeing a pedestrian in this subdivision is not an every day occurrence—typically the only people you see on foot are landscapers—so I slowed down to see if I recognized him. Sure enough, he was one of the Pro-Life Action League’s most faithful activists, Dan Wenzel. I invited him to hop in and said I would turn around so we could witness together for an hour. “By the way,” I asked, “where is your car parked?” His answer surprised and humbled me. “I didn’t drive. I walked.”
“Wenzel, 78, had walked a mile from his Oak Park apartment to Harlem Avenue. He then rode a bus north for about half an hour until Northwest Highway where he walked a couple of miles to the Edison Park Metra station; after another thirty minute ride, he arrived at the Palatine train station.”
Wenzel, 78, had walked a mile from his Oak Park apartment to Harlem Avenue. He then rode a bus north for about half an hour until Northwest Highway where he walked a couple of miles to the Edison Park Metra station; after another thirty minute ride, he arrived at the Palatine train station. Dan then walked over four miles to Goyal’s house. All in all, he had invested at least three hours to attend a one-hour prayer vigil.
Wenzel modestly summed up his superior effort with, “It’s a nice day and I needed the exercise.” He was even reluctant to accept my offer to drive him to the train station afterwards because it would be “out of my way.”
Talking with Dan in the car gave me a new perspective. Here I was upset because I had driven for about an hour, listening in comfort to the NIU Huskies fall to the Wisconsin Badgers, and no one was waiting for me; yet he never complained one iota. To the contrary, he apologized for being late.
He showed me the meaning of dedication, humility and faith. He also reminded me that doing the right thing always takes more effort, but the rewards—in this life and the next—are awesome! Thank you, Dan, for reminding me what it means to sacrifice to walk with the angels.
One week later over 1,000 prayer warriors witnessed for life in front of Planned Parenthood’s massive Aurora abortion mill. Among them was Dan Wenzel.
I spoke with Dan later in the week and learned that his trip began before the sun had risen with a bus ride to the Berwyn Metra station followed by a train ride to the Route 59 station in Aurora. From there he walked three or four miles to the mill. He repeated the odyssey home after walking the picket line for better than two hours.
Dan, with humility typical of real heroes, said he didn’t want me to make a big deal of his commute because so many people do so much more than he does. I apologize for ignoring his wishes because he is an inspiration and the story of his dedication needs to be told.
And to all the unsung pro-life heroes who do so much, I may not acknowledge your sacrifice in print but your reward awaits you in eternity. I know you will be greeted in heaven with, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Dan Gura is one of the League’s most stalwart activists, and the father of new League staffer Corrina Gura. This story orriginally appeared on the Republicans for Fair Media website—RFFM.org—where Dan is a contributing editor.