If the Pope asked me to nominate just one candidate for sainthood from our community, my answer would be easy: Harlan Andersen.
If you don't know him, then you probably didn't grow up in the Newport-Mesa area — or have children.
For nearly 40 years, Harlan has worked at the various branches of the Boys & Girls Club of the Harbor Area, serving as the ultimate role model — kind, gentle, understanding, patient and funny — for thousands of kids each year.
I've watched Harlan humbly go about his job for 17 years now as my four sons played basketball at the Lou Yantorn Branch in Eastside Costa Mesa. Amid the din of controlled chaos that surrounds him each day, I've never seen Harlan — a big man with a graying buzz cut who played basketball at Chapman University well enough to be inducted into the college's Hall of Fame — lose his temper and snap at a kid.