Saturday, August 16, 2008

1 degree from an Olympian

My daughter Casey had the most awesome 4th grade teacher. Her name is Frances Greenhalgh and the kids used to call her "Miss Greenhouse." She was optimistic, fun loving, and made each child feel special. And the feeling was mutual.

The year that Casey was in the 4th grade, Mrs. Greenhalgh's son was in a serious accident. Through his treatment he became involved with Lakeshore Rehabilitation. Being like his mother, Tommy never asked others to feel sorry for him. Instead, he threw himself into finding his highest potential and became a Para-Olympian in sharp shooting. He also became involved in para-rugby. This sport is grueling and rough. One of his team mates, Bryan Kirkland, was at a hugh disadvantage because he didn't own a sports wheelchair.

Casey's class got into action and began a campaign called "Pennies from Heaven" that was designed to get the funding Bryan needed to get the right chair. Children from all over the school emptied their piggy banks and their parents' checkbooks to raise the funds. It was a rousing success and the money poured in. The goal was met in three short weeks. Bryan came to the school and I will never forget his reaction. But the kids got more than they gave. The Lakeshore team showed up to play a game of rugby at the school and they got to see players who gave it their all.

Last night, Bryan was on television for a news spot. Turns out he is going to the Olympics!! I couldn't have been more proud. He is now working at Home Depot (a great supporter of employees who participant in the Games) and he spoke briefly about his upcoming trip.

Wow. I am so proud to think that my daughter and her class invested in this young man who will now be on a world stage. He has already struck gold in our hearts. USA! USA! USA!