Googling your name can be a sobering experience.

There was a period of about two years when I could type my name into the Internet search engine and, mixed in with the stories or columns I'd written recently, a police blotter item from a far away newspaper would appear reporting that Barry Ginter, an employee of the National Hotel in Maine, had been arrested for a DUI.

It wasn't me, though ... never even been to Maine. The trouble, of course, is that anyone else who Googled my name came up with the same results. I could picture a prospective employer doing research or, worse, an old girlfriend (and, let's face it, everyone looks up old flames on the Internet) checking to see whatever happened to the Barry Ginter they once knew: "What's this, he's working at a hotel in Maine? ... Has a drinking problem? ... Oh, I'm so happy ..." (The last part would be from the old girlfriend rather than the prospective employer, or at least I hope).

I've always been happy about the uniqueness of my name, so I found it fascinating that there was at least one other Barry Ginter, and probably more. And it occurred to me that it would be pretty cool to meet another Barry Ginter, although I'm sure the novelty would have quickly faded ... "What ... you're kidding me ... your name is Barry Ginter, too! Get out! ..." Long, long, uncomfortable silence. Imagine what people named John Smith must go through.

That item finally disappeared from the Web, but I noticed a new one about a Barry Ginter other than me recently. It was an obituary.

I don't know if it was the same Barry Ginter as the earlier reference in the police blotter, but it doesn't matter. It seems like this one lived a good life, based on the obituary and the many memorials written by friends and family members. We seemed to have had some things in common ... liking fishing and football, for instance.

The spooky thing was that the guy was the same age as me (actually 28 days older).

That seems far too young to die. But it was just a name, and I notice that when I Google my name now , the obituary is no longer anywhere near the top of the search results.

As disconcerting as it was to see an obituary bearing my name, I'm glad I read it. Somehow it feels like a reminder ... I've got some living to do.

Honoring a special group of volunteers

There is a special group of people in Carson City that you'll never hear much about. They donate many hours of their time to help abused or neglected children, and they do it for no other reason than they care. And, because of confidentiality issues, they can never tell the stories of the heartbreaking cases they see every day and of the damage the abuse has caused.

They're Court Appointed Special Advocates, and both the program and its volunteers deserve a great deal of recognition for all their hard work and compassion. Most importantly, though, for the results they achieve in helping to fix all the damage that has been caused in the lives of hundreds of children. There are 26 volunteers in Carson City at this time serving 50 children.

There will be a CASA volunteer recognition dinner on Sept. 8 at the Governor's Manion, and everyone is welcome to attend. It begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at Comma Coffee and Bella Salon and Spa.

The evening will feature a dinner, silent auction and entertainment. Nevada Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta will be a guest speaker along with Judge David Nielson, and First Lady Dawn Gibbons will present certificates of appreciation to the volunteers.

You don't have to attend to help CASA, however. If you want to make a donation or donate an item for the silent auction, call 882-6776 or visit the Web site

CASA also has a new campaign this year, "Adopt a year of Advocacy." A $1,000 donation will help a Carson City abused and neglected child for a year.

Barry Ginter is editor of the Appeal. You can reach him at 881-1221, or


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