Friday, October 24, 2008

...Being called a "Hero"....

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:

Dear Melissa...

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.

Helen Manning 
Communications Director
NA Sports

GASP!!! I read the letter again.  The first thing to come to my mind 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 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. 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:


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.


David said...

Nice story. Congrats. Looking forward to seeing you there.



You are very inspiring!
Congrats. You deserve this.


Irene Odell said...

Congratulations! May your new SUPER-hero status and the camera crews be another inspiration to help you beat the clock!!

I'll be there cheering...and you know, I made a promise to you about signing up for next year WHEN you finish. Help me keep it!

Trigirlorlando said...

Oh thank Irene...NO PRESSUE OR ANYTHING!!! Hahahaha.

Kathy said...

That is sooooo cool. Well done. Hopefully we will see the programme here!!! Sometimes they show them.... will be looking out for it for sure.

don said...

You are a true hero. Someone who works tirelessly to make the world a better place, for themselves and for others.

Julie said...

I just found your blog this weekend, and spent some time reading through what a story! You are an inspiration and a hero. I can not wait to read about your race, you've done the work, you will have the reward!

The Running Girl said...

That is sooooo cool!!!! Can't wait to see your story on the broadcast in December. Enjoy your last week before you become an Ironman.

Elizabeth the Marathon Girl said...

Congratulations Missey! Now you know why you inspire me so much!

KayVee said...

Wow! That is awesome. Congrats, Melissa!

Cuke said...

you rock. I think last year they got a basket of breakfast cookies. so enjoy

RBR said...

Oh my God your dad sounds like mine that is quite possibly the firsts words of advice he ever gave me!

I just found your blog through Sarah's blog and i am so excited I did.

I know you are standing next to the Atlantic Ocean about to start your amazing journey (I get chills just thinking about and feel more than a littlw queasy), but you are a hero. Certainly to this aspiring Ironman (IMCdA 2009). Thank you for posting about your journey I have a lot of reading to do, but right now I must go run!

Now, go rock the hell out of IMFL and have a hell of a great time!