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Along my journey of training for Ironman and becoming involved with St. Vincent de Paul, I have met some amazing people. People who have inspired me to be a better person, to reach out and to help those in need. In our lives, God gives us opportunities to help one another in our everyday lives. Sometimes it's a listening ear, a generous tip to a kind waitress, or comforting those who are ill. When the idea of a Charity Challenge came to mind for me, it wanted to make a difference in my community. Then one day it became personal. A friend of mine from high school saw my fundraising campaign for SVDP. She shared with me her story of her father, a man she dearly loved. Her father was one of those not only helped by SVDP here in the northwest, he gave back by volunteering hundreds of hours to help those in need as well. Here is her message in her own words:
"Tomorrow is four years since my daddy passed away. St. Vincent de Paul was a charity close to his heart. He never had the wealth to share, but instead he volunteered hundreds of hours for them while living in both Spokane and Vancouver. They helped him during hard times, and he continued paying it forward by volunteering for them until his cancer made him too sick to do so. This opportunity to donate came at the perfect time, and I cannot think of a better way to honor his memory than by giving to your challenge. My donation is complete. I hope you make your goal. Daddy would be proud of you! Thank you for everything you are doing to help!"
I cried the day I read this, and I cry a little more today reading those words. It's been 20+ years since I have seen this friend, and to think that this Charity Challenge has once again brought us together and given us a special bond. It truly has given me meaning to what I am doing. I am not just helping the homeless, the poor, the down trodden, the lonely. I am helping someone's daddy, someone's son, a husband, a widow, a veteran, a mother, or a friend. There are many faces of the homeless. If you look closely, you may know some of them.
I am blessed to be continuing to support an organization that not only helped her father but he felt worthy enough to continue to give back to. He would be proud of both of us. Thank you for sharing your story my friend. My 'community' just got a bit larger. We are all one.
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