At first, the personnel director at Marsh & McLennan thought Michael Parkes had -- to put it gently -- embellished his job application. A scoutmaster? A leader of a church youth group? A volunteer camp counselor? A member of the church managing committee? Please.
'They said, `You don't have to say these things to get a job here,' ' said Stanley Edme, a friend who roomed with him at New York University. ' `We're going to check these things out, you know.' '
Turned out that Mr. Parkes, 27, was telling the truth. He worked as an accountant, but his goal was to help young people on a grand scale -- to guide young black men into top colleges and corporations and teach them true friendship. Among his friends, he was the diplomat, the mediator. 'When you talked to him,' Mr. Edme said, 'you felt stronger and taller. He'd have been a great politician.'
But his heart was with the Episcopal Church, said his twin sister, Monique. 'We thought he'd be a bishop,' she said, 'and go home to Jamaica and build a school.' Already, she said, they were making plans.