Archives - April, 2014



26 Apr 14

By Randy Pierce

Hollis Elementary School presents 2020 Vision Quest with a generous donation of the proceeds from their talent show.

Hollis Elementary School presents 2020 Vision Quest with a generous donation of the proceeds from their talent show.

Recently the Hollis Upper Elementary School honored our charity with the donation of the funds they raised in their annual talent show, which amounted to an incredible $4,045. It is indeed an honor to be chosen as the recipient, particularly of a school and the students who experienced the school presentations we do at no charge that I consider at the heart of our mission.

The reality is that as a charity we must also raise funds, even as an all-volunteer staff. As an organization, we donate an excessive amount of hours and our own funds towards the mission; we do this because we believe our work will help raise funds for Guiding Eyes and NHAB and that those essential funds are necessary and deserving of our own gifts of time and money. That is part of what makes it so powerfully rewarding when a school chooses to give back to us in the process.

Randy presenting at Hollis Upper Elementary School.  2020 Vision Quest gives presentations all over the New England region and has touched the lives of thousands of students.

Randy presenting at Hollis Upper Elementary School. 2020 Vision Quest gives presentations all over New England and has touched the lives of thousands of students.

I rarely make a plea for donations as it’s not particularly my personal strength. Instead, I attempt to lead by example and create opportunities showcasing why 2020 Vision Quest is worthy of your support. There is an excellent FAQ, which answers many questions regarding our organization.

The key highlights include:

  • We are a 501(c)(3) organization and so all donations may be tax deductible
  • We are an all-volunteer organization
  • The funds we raise are dispersed equally between Guiding Eyes for the Blind and N.H.A.B. while allowing us to continue our presentations to schools and non-profit organizations.

It’s a three-way win when you donate to 2020 Vision Quest!

Training of a young girl in front of a washing machine.

NHAB provides many services to the visually impaired, including training.

I’ll highlight below some of the means you can make a difference, and I’d hope especially that you’ll consider making a donation right now if possible. Soon we will give our annual disbursement. While we’ve grown each year in our ability to support our charities, I am keenly aware that this year I have benefited greatly from the continuing mission of Guiding Eyes in their $45,000 gift of the Awesome Autumn ($45,000 being the amount it takes to train a Guide Dog from start to finish, which they provide at no cost to the visually impaired).

 

Guiding Eyes for the Blind provides Guide Dogs at no charge to the visually impaired, as they did this year with Autumn, Randy's new Guide Dog.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind provides Guide Dogs at no charge to the visually impaired, as they did this year with Autumn, Randy’s new Guide Dog.

Now is the time you can help us ensure that donation may resonate as powerfully as we believe our school programs resonate throughout New England. I hope you’ll express your appreciation for what we do either directly now or in any of the more long term ways listed below:

  • Donate Now  to help our immediate goal
  • Join or Donate to our 2020 Vision Quest NHAB Walk Team for Saturday, June 7
  • Save the Date for Peak Potential our Annual Dinner and Auction on November 22, 2014
  • Share this blog to help us enhance our outreach
  • Continue to be an active part of our community on social media and beyond

Thank you for all that you do to help ensure we may continue to have the powerful impact we believe is possible!

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19 Apr 14

By Randy Pierce

Dick Hoyt pushing his son, Rick, in their first Boston Marathon (1981). Photo courtesy of www.teamhoyt.com.

Dick Hoyt pushing his son, Rick, in their first Boston Marathon (1981). Photo courtesy of www.teamhoyt.com.

On April 21, the Boston Marathon’s 118th running will highlight more than its usual share of incredibly inspiring stories. “One Year Stronger” will showcase the positive choices and progress from the horrific events of last year’s bombs. It is all too common to be caught with our focus on the worst of the news and yet so many of the most incredible examples in our world show the merit of doing just the opposite. Seek the inspiration and the motivation and ensure your vision includes reaching for those things which will bring you true reward.

This is allegedly the final running of the Boston marathon by Team Hoyt. The story of Dick and Rick Hoyt is for me one of the most inspiring larger than life stories as their youtube video suggests, I too, “Can Only Imagine.”

Watch the Inspiring Video of this Team

The Team Hoyt Story began with the birth of Rick in 1962. Due to oxygen deprivation at that time, he was “diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy.” It was suggested by the medical community at the time that there was no hope for an ordinary life–and perhaps that was fortunate, because it led instead to an extraordinary life for father, son, and a world full of inspired people who understand that we must learn to believe if we wish to truly achieve.

Quinn and Randy run the BAA 5k in April 2013.

Quinn and Randy run the BAA 5k in April 2013.

Dick and Judy Hoyt first had to choose to look beyond the obvious challenges and discover the intellect behind Rick’s eyes. They had to teach him despite suggestions it wasn’t possible and they proved how much was hidden by the physical impacts of his condition. Rick would prove even more by his perseverance and determination and his college degree and career certainly highlight. The athletic achievements of the team gained recognition as a sign of the bond of love and determination of a father and son, but the true message for me is found in the value and possibility of any human spirit to rise and showcase more than the world might imagine. Think about that when you answer the question in their video “Can You Imagine?” Think more on what can you imagine and how can you achieve it.

For my part, the Mighty Quinn inspired me to run once again and I will honor him with my training and running the Boston marathon on Monday April 20, 2015. Throughout this preparation, I encourage everyone to consider undertaking some healthy miles for their own benefit and to perhaps consider joining our “Miles 4 Quinn” community. Whether you walk, swim, paddle, peddle, roll, run or some other means to challenge yourself to imagine and realize more than you might have thought before. It has worked for Team Hoyt and it can work for all of us.

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12 Apr 14

By Randy Pierce

For 2020 Vision Quest, it all began with a desire to walk, then walk in the woods, and finally to take it to higher summits still! For the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) it began with a desire to ease a burden on the most accessible and often over hiked summits while gifting the community with a richly rewarding series of majestic mountains previously overlooked. That was a significant part of the motivation behind the AMC creating the  “NH 48 Club.”

Since that time, just over 10,000 people have joined the all-season version while just 550 have achieved the feat in winter. They do not recognize the much smaller list who have accomplished this in a single winter.

Randy, Tracy, John Swenson, and the Mighty Quinn reach the 48th and final summit in their summertime hiking quest, Mt. Flume.

Randy, Tracy, John Swenson, and the Mighty Quinn reach the 48th and final summit in their summertime hiking quest, Mt. Flume.

On April 12, 2014, the AMC  holds their annual Awards night to celebrate the newest members of the club. Five members of 2020 Vision Quest will officially celebrate this accomplishment as John Swenson joins the Pierce family (Tracy, Randy and the Mighty Quinn) in having completed the achievement. This quartet reached the summit of Mt. Flume on August 24, 2013 for their 48th and final All-Season, although Randy and Quinn had their single winter summits already under their feet. Fellow Volunteer Rick Stevenson joined their ranks on November 9 with his final peak of the list. Congratulations to the many who have reached this goal and to those many somewhere along the path!

For my part, I hope and expect that hiking will remain a treasured opportunity to appreciate a little mountain therapy with cherished friends. There’s an allure to the majestic mountains which calls to all of us in various voices. I chose to hike as the gift of walking was freshly returned to me. I chose to share it with the world through 2020 Vision Quest because it allowed us to support the higher mission of our charity work. Having bid so very sad a farewell to the Mighty Quinn, I may not ever know whether Autumn or any other Guide Dog will lead me up peaks. I’m sure the many incredible friends past, present, and future may have a role in my journey just the same… but… the early signs with Autumn have shown some promise and as I’ve learned well, it’s all about the journey, not the destination – even for a part-time Peak Bagger like me!

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5 Apr 14

By Randy Pierce

Quinn and Randy run the BAA 5k in April 2013.

Quinn and Randy run the BAA 5k in April 2013.

In 2006, I was so proud to step out of my wheelchair for the final time and walk, albeit slowly, with a support (hiking!) stick. Quinn came along a bit later and soon had me walking better and better each and every day. He then helped guide me back to running and amidst our many achievements together we ran roughly 30 road races together. It was a precious gift and we were pioneers of the Guide Dog running potential here in New England. We loved running together as the marvelous photo from the BAA 5k shows while highlighting the potent image of the flags display at the Boston marathon finish in 2013. I knew then I would do everything possible to run the full Boston marathon.

When Quinn became afflicted with bone cancer in the Fall of 2013 and tragically bid us a final farewell in January of 2014, I made the right and reasonable choice to delay my running. Starting April 6 with my first half marathon until I qualify for and then run the Boston Marathon 2015, I am going to dedicate and log all of my many miles in Quinn’s Honor (#miles4Quinn). I am hoping and encouraging any and all of you to consider joining me in your favorite format to honor Quinn and simultaneously support our 2020 Vision Quest charity. Whether you walk, bicycle, hike, swim, ski or do other healthy ways of travelling, please consider this as a means to increase your health and join our cause! We will track all the many miles we all travel on our journey to healthy fun and the most marvelous Mighty Quinn! As our community grows we may attract a sponsor or two as well. Like most charities we strive to earn funds to support our mission.

It’s as easy as this three-step approach and we’ll be leading the way early and often:

  1. Choose to travel how ever many miles is right for you by the means right for you as well!
  2. Log your #miles4Quinn miles at our website: http://2020visionquest.org/miles-for-quinn.html
  3. Share your accomplishment and our goals as often as possible!

I’m running the Great Bay Half Marathon in Newmarket, NH on April 6, the Boston Athletic Association 5k on April 19 and my first marathon on May 3 at which I hope to qualify for Boston 2015. The California International Marathon and of course Boston are major races in our plans, along with many local races and the near constant training. We’d love to run, walk, bike, and hike with our entire community as often as possible and hope to promote all of our health and happiness. I’m running with human guidance for these races while Autumn comes up to speed on our Guide work together.

On June 7, I hope she’ll lead our best team yet on the NHAB 3k Walk for Sight in Concord NH I won’t know how well we’ll succeed on any of our various goals but I know how hard I’m prepared to work. I hope you’ll all consider celebrating with me each and every mile we can dedicate to my inspiration, motivation and so very loved Mighty Quinn. Along the way I hope we help encourage each other and continue to support the organization built largely upon the wagging tail of Guiding Eyes Quinn!

#miles4Quinn

Rob and Randy running at the Great Bay Half

Tracy, Randy and Sarah pose pre-race

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