Letter to the Editor: Thank you Mr. Restaino for a Second Chance

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By: Tyrell Lynch

I have been watching the Niagara Falls Mayoral election with great interest because I plan to live, work and co-parent my son here in the city.  

As 31 year old African American male, I find the current job market in the Falls severely lacking in  job opportunities with a livable wage.  More specifically, over the last 11 years, I’ve had to work elsewhere in the area because it’s been almost impossible to find a job during the current administration.

As I watch the various candidates take aim at each other, I am looking for a candidate who is compassionate enough to make a difference as the people’s Mayor yet, has the intestinal fortitude to make the tough decisions about the budget and stand up to Albany when it comes to New York State seemingly taking advantage of Niagara Falls assets such as the New York State Parks and NYPA and Niagara Falls share of casino revenues.

Why am I writing this and what does all this have to do with me one might ask? 

I was considered a basketball prodigy with a lot of promise at 14.  I was good enough to be offered a Division I scholarship at that age.  In my teens I traveled the country playing basketball for PAL here in Niagara Falls, & the GC Ballers in Buffalo. Both are very reputable and respected AAU travel teams.  All through high school I was invited and attended elite camps such as Adidas, Five Star & Eastern Invitational.  At Niagara Falls High School I was a starting Forward on the team that won the NY State & Federation Championship as-well as the National Championship in 2005.

Almost none of this would never have happened without the compassion and kindness of Judge Robert Restaino.  The details of my offense aren’t important however, I had to appear before Mr. Restaino because of a youthful indiscretion when I was 15 years old. My court appearance could have resulted in my life taking a different turn as I have seen with other African American males around the country. However, after Mr. Restaino (correctly) admonished me for my offense he dismissed the case telling me I better never appear in his courtroom ever again and, in effect, this act of compassion allowed me to finish High School and receive a basketball scholarship to the University of Massachusetts. 

More recently, I recently on tour in South America playing against NBA talent in Panama City Panama.  As I looked at the beaches and mountains that surrounded me i couldn’t help but to think, how blessed I was and what would have happened to me if the Judge made a different decision all those years ago?  Where would my life be right now if I had been incarcerated? 

I really don’t know Mr. Restaino and never really had the chance to thank him but, I’d like to thank Mr. Restaino for a second chance.  I hope Mr. Restaino will see this letter and know how grateful I am to have appeared before his court as a misguided 15 year old who needed advise from a good, wise Christian man.  

Thank you Mr. Restaino for a second chance.  You have my vote because you are the kind of leader I can respect.


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