Hero: n. A person noted for special achievement in a particular field.
Hero is a pretty strong word. There have been a lot of heroes in my life. Some of them are alive today (my father, my husband, my brother in law, those who battle for their lives against cancer, those in harms way with the armed forces that secure our borders and our country) and some of them are gone (my 96 year old grandmother who was blind and lived most of her life as a widow, my Godson Christian Stafford who battle Leukemia to the bitter end, and Jessie Gay another cancer warrior who lost her life way too soon).
These people...they are heroes to me. Every single day their lives were/are a shining example of how special life is and how lucky we are to have the honor of living in this country.
So ... with that said ... you might understand why I have a hard time telling people that, yesterday, I was called a HERO.
I returned from my workout with Hector, sat down at my computer to work through emails from friends, clients and business associates. There was this one email that didn't look familiar with the words: Congratulations. Hmmm...Did I win the lottery in Kenya AGAIN...I thought to myself!!!!???!!! Did my long lost third cousin twice removed leave me 11 million dollars in Spanish coins in Dubai!!?? Congratulations...??? For what???
And then...I opened the letter...and here is what it said:
On behalf of Ford and North America Sports, we are pleased to announce that you have been selected as the Ford Everyday Hero for the 2008 Ford Ironman Florida.
We believe that you exemplify the Ironman competitor who not only takes on the challenge of training and competing in this arduous sport, but does so at the same time as they contribute in a positive way to a cause or community charity. The Ford Everyday Hero Award salutes those who have a positive impact on others as part of their Ironman journey...
As the 2008 Ford Ironman Florida recipient of the Ford Everyday Hero Award you will receive a $1000 contribution from Ford and the North America Sports Community Fund to be donated to the non profit group of your choice.
We look forward to having you as a guest of Ford at the Welcome Dinner on Thursday October 30th. During the Welcome Dinner you will be called to the stage to be presented with the Special Gift Package from Ford and North America Sports. At this time a "Ford Everyday Hero" video created by Ironworks Productions will be shown to those attending the dinner. This footage will also be featured in the Ford Ironman Broadcast.
Congratulations again, and welcome to a very special group of exceptional individuals in the Ironman Community.
GASP!!! I read the letter again. The first thing to come to my mind was.....is this a joke? Do they know that I am going to probably be one of the final finishers of the day?? Do they have ANY idea how horrible I look in spandex!!?? Holy moley. This is incredible.
But the donation!!! $1000.00!!! My first call was to my husband. My second call was to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Hey guys....more money for research...whhhoooo hoooooo!!! My next call was to Rick, Debbie,Beth and Laura..my dearest friends...because I knew they would be supportive and give me a highfive. They are truly the best!!
In the past 24 hours, I have been contacted by a Film Director with Ironworks Productions to schedule my "shoot" (oh my god .. they ARE going to shoot me...and take me out of my misery before the pain starts!!!) They wanted background info, photos, and asked questions. They will be filming me in Panama City before the race...and DURING the race. Great...photo evidence of the pain!!!
Seriously, I am very overwhelmed and humbled by this honor. Steve and I had talked about entering my story but we never dreamed they would pick me. Rick also thought it was a good idea to submit my story. We put together the details and sent this email not thinking anything more would come from it. This is a dream come true not only for me..but for my charity to get a little more money for the cause.
When I told my father, he reminded me of the 11th commandment..which I promised I would adhere to:
NEVER EVER EVER BELIEVE YOU OWN PRESS!!!
So if you watch the Ironman Florida coverage on Versus in December, remember, they may call me a hero...but I just work for the real heroes in this world who are fighting cancer and keeping us safe everyday!! They really deserve the nameplate.