Archives - December, 2012



30 Dec 12

By Jim Caron

When Randy Pierce started 2020 Vision Quest in 2010, he could never have guessed what successes would be accomplished in the year 2012.

True to his most urgent goal, in the spring he was able to present $10,000 contributions to each of our two key charities — New Hampshire Association for the Blind (NHAB), and Guiding Eyes for the Blind, which trains guide dogs. These organizations provide vital, life-changing support to individuals stricken with devastating vision loss, helping them reclaim the full possibilities of their lives, much as Randy himself displays each day. And their services become more relevant every day, as the Baby Boom generation ages.

On yet another front, Randy’s passion for enlightening young people reached full pitch, with presentations at schools scheduled in almost every week of 2012 — and often multiple schools in the same week! By his tally, he and Quinn have now brought their message of Ability Awareness and of reaching beyond one’s limitations to over 18,000 young minds. It is tremendously gratifying for Randy when he hears back from teachers that their class has taken his message to heart, like for example, the fifth-grade class that adopted a mantra of “What would Randy and Quinn do?” when confronted with a challenge.

Companies likewise caught on to the power of the message, and in 2012, speaking to corporate meetings became a significant source of donated funds. For the record, Randy himself receives no personal compensation for any of his 2020 Vision Quest efforts, which as you can see are herculean.

Also gratifying were the successes of the Winter 48 Hikes, which put Randy and Quinn into the record books as the first blind man and guide dog to climb all 48 of NH’s 4,000-footers in a single winter season. Film-maker Dina Sutin documented the experience, and produced a beautiful short film that appeared in local theaters in the fall, generating contributions through ticket and DVD sales.

In the spring, Randy took on the grueling task of walking 100 miles in support of NHAB’s 100th anniversary. Shortly after, the summer hiking season commenced, ultimately adding another 14 peaks to the tally, which now stands at 36. The remaining 12 of the 48 peaks are scheduled for completion in 2013, well ahead of Randy’s original goal of the year 2020.

Closing the year, our third annual Peak Potential trails-end gala likewise reached new heights. Tables had to be added to accommodate the requests for seats, and our fund-raising auction set new records for both items contributed and total sales.

I have to be honest — I find it kind of exhausting to even consider how far Randy and Quinn have “pulled the plow” this year. But it reflects the intensity of desire that Randy has in his heart to make a difference to the lives of anyone he can help. He is truly a man who will give you the shirt off his back. (Note to self: return Randy’s shirt.)

As we end this year, I ask that each of you consider giving Randy Pierce the gift of your support. Click that donate button, and chip in a few dollars to help keep our charities going strong. Or visit our gift shop, and buy a t-shirt, hat, or hoodie sweatshirt, for yourself or as a gift to a 2020 Vision Quest supporter you know. Show the love with one of our coffee mugs, or a Quinn-approved doggie dish.

The proceeds, I assure you, benefit real people in very real ways. Best of all, your enthusiasm for Randy’s mission will keep him going strong in 2013, and beyond.

Let me also wish you the best of the season, for the entire 2020 Vision Quest crew. May you be as blessed in the coming year as we have been in 2012.

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22 Dec 12

By Randy Pierce

Photo courtesy of Justin Fuller.

Christmas, the Winter Solstice, and possibly the Mayan End of the World (which is still yet to come as I write this) all come together for the “holidays” or “holly daze” as I’ve occasionally quipped.

There are many varied holiday celebrations at this time of year and with them a split between those who come together in unity to share celebrations and those who find umbrage at others celebrating their particular preferences. I revel in people who either by nature or by practiced effort embrace the beauty of celebration. There are so many challenges already inherent in our lives; I welcome every step forward in positive focus on the good things which similarly abound. In fact, I struggle somewhat to understand those for whom the celebrations of others are a negative force.

I realize that as humans we have a natural tendency towards attaching or belonging to groups which all too often may create an “us or them” mentality. When these choices align us together there can be tremendous positive–but when they align us “against” there is potential for so much loss.

I will always strive personally for unity and appreciation even amidst the differences. My efforts in this direction so far continue to reap tremendous reward upon me which I would wish for as many as possible to appreciate.

So whether you wish me a Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, or whatever seasonal greeting excites you to share in joy, I’m delighted for your expression and well wishing. Each person comes from a different place in their expression of holiday greetings, whether it be religious, seasonal, or simply an appreciation for nostalgic childhood memories of holidays. I urge those accepting holiday greetings perhaps beyond their realm of comfort to simply recognize the intent of goodness behind the holiday cheer and greeting. I have found it makes for a much happier holiday season!

I wish that everyone who reads this may know that through this long year and these presently long nights I reflect in appreciative wonder at how much beauty of nature and people has been shared with me. On behalf of Quinn, myself, and 2020 Vision Quest, I wish you the most peace, happiness, and love for the present day and all the many days to come. I’m thankful for your various roles in helping us continue our mission and helping me personally to continue to believe in the positive power of people.

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15 Dec 12

By Randy Pierce

“Volunteers are not paid; not because they are worthless but because they are priceless!”

Immersed in the holiday season, this inspirational theme was on the agenda for our blog this week. Usually I rely on the shared stories from our community, my own discoveries, or emailed suggestions from our readers. (We welcome suggestions! Email us.) This week I want to highlight the volunteers who have made possible all of our 2020 Vision Quest efforts. As we approach 2.5 years of operation it still amazes me how much we have accomplished and moreso how much we continue to progress.

While there’s a long list of folks who have made our mission possible in the past, I’d like to give a bit of appreciation for the folks presently giving of their time and skills to ensure we continue successfully. Our present staff includes Tracy, Jim, Beth, Sarah and Rob with two Board members, Rachel and Jenifer, actively working special projects. Similarly a third Board member, Jennifer, coordinated our Nashua showing of Four More Feet.

This list does not include the Board of Directors nor the friends and community members who have been an integral part of many accomplishments. My appreciation for these folks is tremendously high. I’m just choosing to highlight the immediate staff because we are almost always in need of more support, for which you could volunteer by emailing me.

Many of the staff wake up in the morning and sneak in a little time to give to 2020 efforts before undertaking the conventional obligations of their day. Many squeeze in moments of effort throughout their day and still more provide hours of evening support simply because they have the skills and believe their efforts make a sufficiently worthwhile difference.

Sustaining the blog, website, social media, donations, school visits, presentations, financials and business aspects of a charity are no small tasks. Helping us to reach more and more people in more and more effective ways while raising funds could easily be a full time job for a larger staff. Operations rarely occur without an assortment of challenges, urgencies, and setbacks that require extra efforts. I know my own failings in this process often loom larger to me than the successes, but fortunately I can say that every time I’ve needed support, encouragement, or even a motivational boost, someone on this staff has risen to the occasion.

Throughout all of this I get an inordinate amount of congratulations and expressions of thanks. I do try to share these with the staff and Board but the truth is that I often get far too much of the credit. If those of you who get to read this particular post have seen the worthwhile work we undertake and thought an occasional bit of encouragement is worthwhile, I urge you to consider sharing it with the staff of 2020 Vision Quest. Without them, these efforts could not occur. They have my thanks and I hope you might consider sharing yours with them via email, social media, a phone call or in person. They are incredible people and I’m proud to have them as part of 2020 Vision Quest and more importantly as friends in my life. Thank you!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou

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8 Dec 12

By Randy Pierce

December 11 is the 8th Birthday of the Mighty Quinn and while that does place him into the average age for Guides to consider retirement, he is healthy, happy, and very young at heart! In honor of his day, we are writing on the lighter side today. We thought we’d detail Quinn’s favorite toys usually found at his favorite place to shop: Pet’s Choice in Merrimack, NH.

Randy and Quinn face off at Tug of War! Courtesy of Erb photography.

Tug of War Ropes!
In his all time favorite game, he demonstrates those powerful mountain climbing muscles with a move we call “the worm.” He’ll play the angles for stouter opponents and surprise many with his patented head shake. Always the gentleman–errr, dog–he’ll tone it down for the less exuberant as well.

Squeaky Ball:
A close second to tug is his squeaky ball. The more squeaks per second he can demonstrate, the higher his happiness. In a game of catch, his tremendous mouth-eye coordination and that tireless retriever spirit are always on display. His leaping-over-the-shoulder catching ability is simply astounding!

Quinn catches a ball out of mid-air! Courtesy of Erb photography.

Nylabone:
Whether a wishbone or traditional (thanks Chrissie for the six bones for six years of working!), the goal isn’t about chewing but throwing it into the air, pawing it around, rolling on it and generally showing off silliness which belies his eight years of doggy erudition!

Squeaky Classic:
A fuzzy bone with squeakers is a two-individual game of keep away which has Quinn circling the keeper, weaving their legs and nimbly turning on a dime to snatch the prize and unleash a torrent of squeaky rewards!

Duck Hunt:
This stuffed duck with a “quacking” squeaker is a take-off on the age-old game of hide and seek. He sits patient and attentive as we hide the duck anywhere in the home or yard. When we point our finger and call out “Bang!” he’s off and running to let his nose and ancient instincts guide him to his prey. Occasionally looking like the Keystone Cops as he pursues room to room for a scent of the duck, Quinn always delights in his quacking, head-shaking retrieval!

While many more toys delight Quinn’s days, those are the top five. His playful zeal is why rewarding each working trip with a play session keeps both Quinn and me well immersed in the joys of life!

Happy Birthday, Quinn!

Randy and Quinn--best buds! Courtesy of Erb photography.

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1 Dec 12

By Randy Pierce

“While the optimist and pessimist argue about the fullness of the glass, the opportunist enjoys a refreshing drink!”

In southern NH there’s a pair of smaller mountains well worth visiting for a short hike. The Uncanoonuc
(pronounced: un-ca-noo’-nuc) mountains in Goffstown, NH are close to where I live in Nashua. They offer a few different routes with generally mild hiking challenges, though the steepest trail takes a bit of effort.

On my first trip, I delighted in the unexpected mountain offerings so close to my home but was dismayed to find the top marred by litter. Specifically, there was a fair bit of broken glass which gave me “pause” to worry for Quinn’s paws. The story might have ended there had I not been contacted by a Trinity High School student interested in working with 2020 Vision Quest for a project called “Love your Neighbor.” This project was intended to allow students to reach out within their community and make a difference.

We brainstormed some initial goals: help raise charity funds and hopefully include a hike together. We thought about adding value to the experiences to make them appeal to more folk and involve the community. Flyers were created and distributed to publicize the hike.

On Saturday Nov. 24, a group of us gathered at the trailhead to hike to the summit together. With trash bags and many helping hands to clean up the area, we turned the experience into more than just a hike. Many from the community chose to make a donation in appreciation of the efforts. These dollars will be donated to 2020 Vision Quest to further our many missions.

This effort became about more than just cleaning up the litter on the treasured local hiking spot. Embracing it as an opportunity to do more was an excellent change of direction–the day we spent building our community while helping the community was a refreshing new adventure! Thanks Michelle and the entire group from Trinity!

Stay tuned a future blog for the inspiring tale of our new friend Chris who joined us for the journey as well!

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