Many of you have supported my volunteer trips through your purchaces the last couple summers. I want to thank you as being a former teacher and coach, this retirement thing often makes me feel useless. Until things like this fall into place. I know it is not Vikings related
Last summer I succeeded in my 1st challenge of adapting to my limitations by mowing athletic fields at a camp in Northern Minnesota. Again, it was your gifts that allowed me to take a load of the work crew and provide a quality cut for all field activities. Small thing but I truly found joy watching the kids play football, soccer and softball on a field that a day before looked like it was close to bailing hay on.
This year is going to be more extrordinary. You may not believe in a divine calling (I just happen to) but whatever you chose it is really one of those things that has one thinking. After my accident I was put in contact with a man who was disabled in an accident and was my support person as i battled thru recovery. He was an in-law of old friends my parents had in Minn. I was hesitant to contact him at 1st until i learned that one of my Vikings buddy's here in FL was his cousin! 20 years a friend and we never knew we had a connection thru our families.We may have met in our childhoods and never remebered. Ny friends cousin is active in programs for the disabled and responsible for a lot of legislation being passed for disabled folks. Karl Kassulke worked with him and I was to have lunch with Karl but he passed 4 weeks prior tome coming home. That was a bummer for me. Story doesn't stop Hang with me-
NOW, the big news. Knowing I was looking for an opportunity to fit my coaching and teaching backgroung I was hooked up with a man called Bob Bardwell. Yah, Cool. sooo... Bob is an accident victim and confined to a wheelchair after a contruction accident. He was a great wrestler and is in the US wrestling Hall of Fame for special accomplishments. Bob became a world class wheelchair marathoner and motivational speaker. He has participatied in all major US and World marathons. I believe the record was 247 races and finished 1st in 47of them
THE CONNECTION - My first disabled buddy and I had a unique`coming together as he was cousins with a man I met 2000 miles away. Dale then writes me about Bob and Ironwood Springs. When the name came up I knew it immediately. See, Bob was my youth mentor at church when i was young. I went down 4 days to help him and his family clear ground for a small camp/ ranch for kids. A year later Bob was hurt. I saw him a few times more til I went off to college and lost touch -til now! That little project I helped with eventually was built to minister and assist disabled folks of all ages and faiths. One man took tradgedy and turned it into triumph. In June they have a National Handicapped Sports camp, camps for kids with cancer, some various church retreats and many types of camp programs that are handicapped friendly Even activitiey weeks for older folks who have mobility problems due to age.. Hundreds each year benefit from the vision of disabled man who wanted to helpi other disabled folks..
Thru all my lifes journeys I never thought such twists of fate were possible, I am thrilled to announce that I was invited to assist in working with world class Paraolympians. Wheelchair racing, bowling, softball, basketball, horseriding (incredible feat for these folks) and watersports are many of the things folks train for. .People from all over the country come. Even Tubby Smith visited last year to help out and there are often many special guests. It is a 1st classs facility for the disabled. The Christopher Reeves Foundation provided much support and Bob and the camp have been Nationally recognized by many groups of prominance for his work.
Thanks to all who helped me get there. I know it is not Viking related. I still need some funds and if you wish to donate to my trip please contact me by my e-mail listed on my profile page. I mainly wanted to share this with buyers and friends here who know my hopes of givng back and carrying on.by helping others thru special works that get me out and about at the same time.
Here is a YouTube video of the camp.Copy and paste to wiew
at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHC9ns7lVVs&feature=related or look up ironwood Springs Ranch
Thanks for your time