This has been a long hard road for all involved with the Jerry Sandusky scandal. After hearing the verdict this morning, I immediately thought, “I hope people don’t accept that this is the end.”

In actuality, this should represent the beginning. Going forward, every child sex offender will not be a high-profile person. The stories will not be glamorized in the media. Instead, it will be regular everyday people taking advantage of our most prized resource in life: our children.

My hope is that everyone — from the people who didn’t pay much attention to those who were outraged by what happened to the media that covered this story so closely — will continue to address the problems surrounding protection of children.

Full transparency for me: Of course I was blown away and saddened by the charges brought against a man whom I once respected and who was my coach. But make no mistake about it. My loyalties and dedication are with the youth. That outweighs all.

I’m sure I speak for a multitude of people when I say let’s continue to fight and protect children and make this case a learning tool and pray for the victims.

Again I offer my apologies on my own behalf and after reading so many comments on my blog I feel comfortable offering apologies for so many others also.

I was taught long ago the way to make it through times like these is through prayer, faith and action.

Pray for the victims that they will find peace in their own lives. Pray for the person who committed the crime. I know it might sound bad, but even he could possibly serve a purpose in this life. In a way, he already has by bringing light to a very real issue that so many are uneducated about. I guess the God-fearing side of me says that.

Have faith that there are still good people in the world who will be protectors and providers. Faith that we all can find common ground in these situations and pull together for the better.

Last but not least, action is a byproduct of prayer and faith. I understand what my prayers and faith are for, and it gives me the conviction to take action. I hope it does the same for you.

There’s a bigger travesty than Jerry Sandusky that can exist if we let it. Moving on and not getting involved in some way, somehow — financially, time or even donated resources. Don’t just move on to the next reality television show now that this one is over. These are very real issues, and sadly enough, this trial represents only one offender; how many more are out there? Are you willing to do what’s right when you see one?

I will close with this analogy that I used to hear in the church growing up. When fertilizing a field or a garden, cow manure is used. It stinks; it’s repulsive; and it’s something that we just don’t want to be around. This case and what those kids went through was nothing short of cow manure. But as that manure fertilizes the ground what emerges from beneath are beautiful and healthy plants and crops.

Sometimes we have to endure the cow manure to see the beauty that comes from it. I urge all who are reading this: Please work to have good come from this. Otherwise we are doomed to see these things happen over and over again.