Jay and Karen discuss the importance of adversity, strength and the will to overcome – especially in challenging times.
We all have those moments when we feel like giving up. When everything seems to be going wrong – when, just then, you’re suddenly dealt yet another staggering blow. The struggle seems so daunting; the path back up the hill seems too steep to climb. It’s right at that moment that we have the opportunity to earn our greatest success. To reach ‘down deep,’ and find that ‘special something.’ An inner resource, a divine strength – and as if by miracle, we begin our ascent.
It’s through these times of struggle that we discover our true selves. It’s also in these times of challenge that we build strength, will and character. So, today, I’m delighted to share the extraordinary story of Cedric King. We all face challenges from time to time – some severe and some less so. Yet, no matter what you are facing today, I’m sure that the story of Cedric’s struggle and ultimate triumph will serve to inspire and give you renewed strength as you move forward.
Taking you back to 1995, a young man named Cedric King who grew up as an only child in a single parent home, had just joined the US Army. After completing basic training, Cedric went on to complete the Army’s jumpmaster, pathfinder, and assault courses, as well as graduate from its elite Rangers school. It was fair to say Cedric was one of the Army’s elite. In 2010, as an Army Master Sergeant, and after two deployments to the Middle East, a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Meritorious Service Medal, Cedric was deployed for a third time to Afghanistan. Weeks into his deployment, while on a reconnaissance patrol, his platoon was engaged in a firefight. His unit was able to deter the attack, yet it was in its aftermath that his life would change forever. As his platoon regrouped, Cedric stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device. 8 days later, he woke up in an army hospital in the United States with severe wounds to his hands and both of his legs amputated. “I cannot remember being in a moment that low,” he said of the experience. “I remember thinking that my entire life is gone.”
Yet, after watching the 2012 Paralympics, Master Sergeant King made a decision: he wasn’t going to allow his injuries to hold him back from moving forward. 21 months after losing his legs, against advice from his doctors, and admittedly even his own basic instincts, he completed the Boston Marathon on prosthetic blades. “You become who you’re supposed to be from the adversity of life. You make adversity your friend, your sparring partner. Not to hurt you, but to make you better.” After running the marathon, Sergeant King went on to launch a nonprofit called Battlefield CEO, helping veterans succeed in corporate America and as entrepreneurs.
Master Sergeant King’s story is just one of the many incredible examples of how our veterans demonstrate what is possible when it comes to facing adversity. Each of us will regularly face adversity throughout our lives, and while there may be an immediate downside, there are always lessons we can learn or positive action we can take thanks to the adversity we face. So next time you find yourself up against daunting odds or a hurdle life throws at you, remember Master Sergeant King, the decisions he made, and the actions he took, to overcome incredible odds.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
The Christmas season is such a magical time of the year and has always been my absolute favorite. Growing up, I remember the excitement – almost overwhelming – as the days ticked l down towards Christmas Eve. Later, as a young parent, I cherished those times when taking our own kids to see Santa Claus at the local mall or watch him arrive by horse drawn sleigh at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in our little town.
This year, however, we were confronted with a troubling question. Given the pandemic, would kids even have an opportunity to see Santa in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas this year? Thankfully, while many worried and expressed their concern, several enterprising young men came up with a plan to ensure that this year’s generation of excited boys and girls would not miss out on their long-awaited opportunity to catch a glimpse of the ‘Man in the Red Suit.
Three local leaders, each with young families in the town of Bedford, decided to take it upon themselves to spread some Christmas spirit over the Thanksgiving weekend and pull the community together. Andrew Provencher, Craig Stevens, and BJ Perry organized ‘Operation Santa Claus is Coming to Town.’ These guys decorated a vehicle, organized a police escort and got Santa to come down from the North Pole. They drove around their town last Friday for several hours with Christmas tunes cranking and waving to kids as they drove by.
A simple posting on a community website led to over 275 requests from families asking the Santa Trio stop by their home. But it doesn’t end there.
One of things I was most excited to hear from my friends who organized this fun outing was a donation of 4 cases of candy from one of the houses they drove by. This nice neighbor works for a candy distribution company and stepped up to bring even more Christmas joy to an already fun adventure. And yet, it still doesn’t end there.
In the coming weeks, ‘Operation Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ has more routes planned, more community caravans organized, and several Santa’s who will take to the streets of Bedford to spread even more Holiday joy!
I commend these guys for stepping up to help spread some Christmas spirit. Imagine if we could have an ‘Operation Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ in each and every one of our communities across this great country!
NH Veteran Continues to Serve
Something that caught my eye this week was the work of Bob Hunt, a resident of Claremont, New Hampshire and an Air Force Veteran who has continued his service to his community. As with all things, COVID-19 has dramatically reshaped our world including how our children are learning. Many schools have opted for conducting school on a remote basis, and thus many children have been joining their parents in a ‘work and learn from home’ setting.
Bob, however, spotted a problem with this ‘remote’ approach and decided to try to help. He recognized the fact that many children do not have desks at home from which to learn. This is something that as an adult we might not normally think about. We often think of children spending most of their time away from school playing outside or engaged in other non-academic behavior. But, for a child, the opportunity to have his or her very own desk, can make a world of difference.
So, Bob set out to start building homemade desks for the less fortunate children so that they would have a well-suited place to learn. These desks are not cheap - at $52 each – just for the materials. Thankfully, however, a local company heard the call and donated $1,000 to his cause to keep the desks coming. And, so they are!
Stories like these are everywhere - we just need to look for them. The American spirit of creativity, ingenuity and generosity – is not only alive and well, but we as Americans are rising to the occasion. This spirit is especially thriving during these challenging times. I wonder how many stories like the actions of Bob Hunt have taken place, yet gone untold, over the past year? COVID-19 has changed our world, but I am thankful for people like Bob who stand up and continue to serve.
Positive Profile of the Week: Matt Mayberry
Have you ever heard the song ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ by the legendary Johnny Cash? It’s one of my favorites, and when I hear it on the radio as I travel across New Hampshire, it makes me think of my dear friend Matt Mayberry. Why? Because week in and week out, this guy is out there every day promoting awesome things across our wonderful state.
Some of you might know Matt as a recent candidate for Congress or the former Vice Chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party. I know Matt as a tireless advocate for New Hampshire. He is our ‘Ambassador of Awesome.’ Selflessly donating his time to the less fortunate; promoting worthwhile causes and generally spreading a spirit of positivity and caring.
Every day out Matt is out there, making progress. As a veteran, he is always promoting initiatives to support the men and women who wear or who have worn the uniform. And Matt’s support for local family owned businesses. His recent posts on social media promoting a local eatery or a company that is ‘doing good’ in our community during these challenging times demonstrates a sincere passion to see our communities thrive, help our economy grow and support the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners from across our state.
If there is a cloud in the sky, rest assured it will be blown away by Matt’s whirlwind of activity in advancing and supporting so many positive activities throughout the Granite State!
I am so proud of this Dover resident and his endless devotion to helping those around him. When Karen and I began our efforts to lead the initiative for Children of Fallen Patriots here in New Hampshire, Matt was one of the first people to offer his support and has been there every step of the way to see our efforts succeed. When Newport decided to set the world record for sunflowers, Matt stepped up yet again by getting involved, spreading the word and engaging grassroots supporters from across the state.
The power of the human spirit is alive and well in Matt and our community owes him a debt of gratitude for tireless efforts to ensure that we succeed.
Quotes of the Week: Overcoming Adversity
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.”
“When adversity strikes, that's when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on.”
LL Cool J
“Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.”
“The eagle has no fear of adversity. We need to be like the eagle and have a fearless spirit of a conqueror!”
“Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity.”