Friday, November 27, 2015


Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting around the family table with loved ones, including my lovely Fiancee.  As is our tradition, before eating we went around the table individually stating what we were thankful for.  Words cannot express how grateful I am for the changes that have come my way this past year.  Change is good, even when its something we don't want to deal with, moving through change is good.

Ten years ago, through the actions of another person whose decisions were out of my control, my life changed in ways that, at the time, I perceived as horrific.  Yes, that change brought about many long term challenges that will impact my life until the day my physical body ceases to function, but through those challenges many amazing, new, and wondrous opportunities have come my way.  All of these things, coupled with my life before the accident, have changed me into the man I am today; a man who has finally reached a point in his life where he is ready to allow all of those challenges to become secondary to realizing his dream of shaping his own family.

I thought loosing my legs was the biggest change that I would ever face in my life, but in July I initiated a change that is far more impactful by asking Irena a simple yes or no question.  I'm so Thankful that she said yes and that her children have opened their arms to me as part of their evolving family.  I'm also truly grateful for all the blessings that I have been have a loving family and a safe warm home and amazing sustaining food and to live in a nation where, for the most part, I can go anywhere I want and have the support to live an inclusively independent lifestyle, and soooo much more!

I'm thankful for the amazing souls who risked their lives to save me on that traumatic night, and for all of those who work in the medical and emergency rescue field.  This past year I've met three more of those individuals...a firefighter who just happened to answer the phone when I called the Greencastle Fire Department to research information for an upcoming speech...who also just happened to have voluntarily fought the fire that consumed my legs nine years before.  Then, just after the ten year anniversary of the accident, I was reunited with the Nurse and Paramedic who had kept me alive during the LifeLine Helicopter transport from Greencastle to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.  I finally got to experience a memorable helicopter ride over the city...a fitting memory to fill the gap of the $10,000 helicopter ride that I've never had any memory of, but certainly saw the bill for in my insurance paperwork.  Irena came with me on that ride, which I saw as a beautifully symbolic way for the two of us to move forward from all that we have both faced before our lives finally came together.

I'm thankful for all of these things and so much more that words cannot do it justice.  That said, as we sat around the table, all of us present, even the youngest in the room, were keenly aware of the fact that there are others in this world who are not as fortunate.  As we think upon the blessings that the universe has bestowed upon us, we must also be mindful of those whose daily lives are more of a struggle than ours, and we must not be greedy with our blessings or cling to them in fear.  We are meant to share our gifts and support our fellow man.  

By this time next year our nation will have elected a new leadership.  I sincerely hope that everyone with the power to vote is paying attention to the changes taking place in the world as we celebrate this Thanksgiving, and how our current political leadership is dealing with it, or the case may be.  Our current leadership, from Governor Pence to the US Congress, including many of our Presidential Candidates have chosen to manage the changes in our world with decisions based in greed and fear rather than doing the right thing for our fellow man.  Our elected leaders have turned our backs on refugees, condemned those who are different from us rather than offering hope and understanding, refused to learn from our global history and led our society to perpetuate hatred on all sides. It is my true hope that come Thanksgiving 2016 we can give thanks for a nation of rational voters who take back the direction of our nation by voting for those candidates who are committed to doing the right thing for our fellow man, both within our state and national borders as well as on an international level, regardless of the differences that separate us.  In the end we are all human and should set an example for the rest of the world by preventing greed and fear from standing in the way of doing what is right.       


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