As we pass the anniversary of the loss of Randy’s Guide Dog, the Mighty Quinn, we share a post from January 30, 2016 when Randy shared a chapter from his book-in-progress about taking Quinn’s ashes on his climb up Mount Kilimanjaro.
As we pass the anniversary of the loss of Randy’s Guide Dog, the Mighty Quinn, we share a post from January 30, 2016 when Randy shared a chapter from his book-in-progress about taking Quinn’s ashes on his climb up Mount Kilimanjaro.
By Randy Piece
As many of you know I’ve been working on my own book project for longer than I’d like to admit. It is going acceptably well at this point after a series of unreasonable delays which have disappointed me and frustrated me at various times. A friend of mine shared with me words from Stephen King suggesting that if you truly want to write, nothing will stop you.
I met Matt Landry indirectly as a result of our mutual appreciation of hiking. We crossed paths a few times including a marvelous afternoon last summer. I’ve been a fan of his on social media as his kindness and wisdom shone very brightly. Thus I was determined to read his newest book and share with all of you.
What a delight I found in the journey he shares with us! It’s far more than a journey through the 48 although I did some reminiscing of my own hikes while reading. It’s a journey of goal setting and moving our life forward, upward and onward.
I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of his book and remember if you use 2020 Vision Quest for Amazon Smiles you help us along the way. In the meanwhile, here are five simple questions and much better answers from the author, Matt Landry.
1) This isn’t your first book and the choice to become a writer has come later in your life. What inspired you to publish initially and what was the motivation behind writing this book?
To make a long story short, my main goal in life is to make the lives of others easier. About 3 or 4 years ago I decided to go back to college to work towards my Human Services degree. In doing so, I took an English composition course, and with the encouragement of the professor, I decided to write a book. She saw a value in the way I wrote that I couldn’t see in myself. Writing a book was an excellent vehicle for serving my purpose of changing the world for the better.
The motivation behind the initial book “Learning to Be Human Again,” my first, was that it was drawn upon from a series of journals I had written about ten years ago while going through a major depression. One of the biggest lessons I learned was to in order increase my self-worth and limit my regret was to learn to simply be myself. The true “me” that was created to shine in only the way I knew best how to do before the World told me who I thought I should be. I thought others may have benefited from a book like that.
For the current book “Forward, Upward, Onward,” the motivation came more from just wanting to achieve a major goal and to see what I was made of, and again, maybe helping someone else do the same in the process. I had a lot of fun writing this one, and hopefully, it shows. It was good to re-live a lot of these hikes again while I was organizing and writing the book.
2) I used this quote as the lead into the blog and I wanted to ask if you would elaborate since I rarely get to ask the source of a motivational quote to enlighten us directly. While you do this wonderfully in your book, perhaps you can give us the abridged insight for the blog: “The problem I had, and I suspect a lot of people have, is that you sometimes give yourself the illusion of moving forward without actually moving forward.”
That quote has to do with a mindset and lifestyle that I lived with for most of my life, and I feel I’m not alone in that concept. The example I used in the book was that if you buy a book about how to speak Italian, it still doesn’t allow you to speak Italian unless you open it up and read it and practice the information inside. The same goes for music lessons. How many of us have bought a guitar, then let it sit without picking it up, then wonder why we can’t play it? Another great example that ties in well with this New Year is a gym membership. How many of us pay a monthly fee, and don’t go, but having a membership makes us somehow feel like we do? Or that paying monthly will somehow alone make us magically physically fit?
Having the mindset of the completion of a goal in your head is crucial. You need to believe and imagine you are running the marathon, passing the course, making the money, or climbing the mountain before you even step out the door. The problem I had was the walking out the door part. I had imagined the goal of hiking the 48-four-thousand-footers having been completed so much and so vividly, I was almost convinced that I had. The problem was that I actually needed to climb them in order to say I had.
It’s no different than losing weight, quitting drinking, starting a new career, or, well, writing a book. There comes a point when you need to stop talking and you need to do the work. I had that epiphany during my 48 peaks goal, and it made all the difference in the long run. Stop waiting for tomorrow, stop talking about it, and stop dreaming. Do the work.
3) You share many appreciative points of kindness in your book, including some sent in my direction–thank you for that. I’m curious what was one of your favorite responses you’ve received from those of us who are so appreciative at your choice to share so much of yourself and your insights with us in your books? Is there a favorite comment, letter or expression of appreciation you’ve received which you can in some part share along with why it has such meaning for you?
With all due respect, the kind words said to me by friends about the books or my insights mean the world to me, but it’s the strangers, the people who I have never met, that mean a little more to me. Although the encouragement of people I know is an important part of my getting these books done, it’s the connection of making a difference to those who I don’t know that goes a long way in motivating me.
Back to the question you asked, I have no specific notes of importance that outweigh another, but I’ve been blessed to get enough of them to help me realize that I’m on the right path right now in what I’m doing. Encouragement of any kind is always a great fuel, isn’t it?
4) While we are on superlatives, you cover many high points and low points of your journey in the book so I’ll leave those there. I’m curious if you have a high point to share in the writing process for either of your books?
In writing, I go with an almost fits and starts method. I will say that a high point in any writing project, especially a longer one, is the final edit. In my case, being a new writer, I also found another surprising high point was getting your book back from the editor and reading through it, to see how they were able to make it flow better. A good editor can make your words truly come to life. That was a surprising aspect of this writing journey I’ve been on. I thank goodness I didn’t release anything that someone wasn’t able to take a good hard look at first before I put it out there. You get so encapsulated in what you’re writing sometimes that you lose the forest for the trees about the story or concept of the book that you’re trying to convey. It’s nice to have that second set of eyes to set you straight or to let you know that you’re in the right direction!
Hiring an editor alone was one of the smartest things I may have done in writing a book. I learned more about my writing in general than any classroom could have taught me. I originally thought I was hiring an editor, what I didn’t know is that I was really hiring a teacher!
5) Any thoughts on what we might expect next in your writing world?
I currently have three projects in the works. My next will be a “Landscape Photography for Beginners” due out early February. In late April I have “Learning to Be Happy Again,” which is a series of 25 tips, habits, and tricks to live a happier life every day. And finally, I have a book based on my travels and lessons learned in the southwestern United States years ago due out at the end of the summer of 2018.
By Randy Pierce
” …it rocked the entire audience of 130 people. There were farmers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, artists from young to old… Everyone felt that Randy was talking to them. It was a profound experience.” – Celeste Barr, Beaver Brook Association
I always strive to connect with people. It is perhaps one of the foundations of who I am and not surprisingly how I have been able to achieve. It is why Celeste’s kind words above inspired me. Through the evolution of 2020 Vision Quest, my keynote presentations to corporations and other organizations have developed into a fundamental part of our connection and the means by which we raise funds to do our charitable work. I appreciate the outstanding and often longstanding ovations received for the method and message in our keynote approach. I intend to keep building on the worthiness and expanding our outreach.
What is the goal of my keynote presentation? While my experiences have equipped me with a foundation of prominent speaking points such as goal setting, managing adversity, teamwork, communication, managing failure, finding purpose, motivation, and more; the essence of them is my ability to customize each presentation towards the target audience.
The presentation has a highly relational conversational tone which most who attend find captivates their attention and broadens their vision. In order to do this, I typically will take the time to understand the objectives of the conference, meeting, or event to ensure the right anecdotes and themes are brought to the forefront. I encourage a positivity which is well grounded in understanding and embracing realistic challenges in a resilient, problem-solving mindset utilizing collaboration and communication to best affect.
These successful keynotes have enabled us to present across the country to hundreds of organizations. Whether a small business group or full corporate event, the testimonials continue to confirm that we meet and more often exceed the objectives professionally while providing an uplifting personal inspiration for those who join us.
As compensation for these keynote presentation, we request an honorarium to the 501(c)(3) charity, 2020 Vision Quest. With all the positive aspects involved in this opportunity, we again encourage you to consider scheduling us for your event or recommending us to someone you know in need of such a speaker for their event. We think you’ll join many people who believe it was one of the best decisions they made.
By Randy Pierce
Just as the Winter Solstice begins the lengthening of the day, so too does the arrival of the New Year bring about reflection for many of us. So many moments over the last year or even many years captured in our minds as a frozen moment of experience we can no longer change or affect.
Nostalgia can be emotionally potent and despite the myriad marvels of 2017. I will not hide that the most powerful images for me are the bitter-sweet recollections of my beloved and now deceased mother. Sweet because so many of the memories are richly laced with the love and attention we chose to share our lives; bitter because I know 2018 and beyond will not hold the possibility of creating new moments together as we did so well most of our lives.
As an icy cold winter has presently embraced New England, Autumn and I are not frozen in time as the above photograph might suggest. We are in the prime years of our work together. As we shelter in the warmth of our home and hearth, we are planning the possibilities for the year(s) ahead. We often share the goals of 2020 Vision Quest through our school presentations and our corporate keynotes. For this blog I wanted to share just the simple goals which warm the moments, days, and year for Autumn and me.
Such is the typical day in the life of Autumn and from such simple roots do I grow the rest of my plans for the new year. Happy New Year everyone, treasure all the little moments frozen in time even as you move forward!
By Randy Pierce
Christmas is certainly for all ages, though I admit to the appreciating the special enjoyment it brings to children. In this wonderful Christmas tale, Jonathan Mosen shares an insightful story of Christmas being for people of all abilities. If you visit the link to his story directly you’ll discover audio versions of the story are available and can share feedback directly with the author. Meanwhile with his encouragement to share this story here is his clever and educational Christmas story.
Link to original story here. Reprinted below.
“Louis, The Blind Christmas Elf”, a Story for Children
– By Jonathan Mosen
A long long time ago, so long ago that even your teacher hadn’t been born yet, so that makes it a really really long time ago, a stylish, shiny elf-driving car pulled into the long driveway at Santa’s busy workshop.
Out of the car stepped Mrs Scott, a smartly-dressed elf wearing a business suit and black patent leather high-heeled shoes.
They made such a loud clop, clop, clop sound on the cobblestones leading to the gingerbread front door of the workshop, that Harold, the chief elf, heard his visitor coming, even over the sound of all the toys being made and packed.
He met Mrs Scott at the door of the workshop, greeting her with a wide smile, a firm handshake and a laugh that was squeaky and high-pitched, yet somehow when you heard it, you could tell it was coming right from his wobbly little tummy. He immediately felt under-dressed in the overalls he was wearing while he was helping out on one of the assembly lines. Yet despite Mrs Scott looking immaculate, and Harold looking decidedly shabby, Harold was the boss, and she had something he needed.
“Come in, come in! You must be from the elf-improvement school,” Harold exclaimed.
Harold ushered Mrs Scott into his office, and one of the kitchen elves was asked to make her a cup of tea. Making all those toys and sorting them for Santa made all the elves hungry like a wolf, so Santa’s workshop had a big kitchen where all kinds of delicious treats were being made for the elves to eat whenever they got hungry.
Mrs Scott had been the director of the School of Elf Improvement for five years, but this was the first time she had visited Santa’s workshop. If elves were ever lucky enough to get a job with Santa, almost no one left. That meant that even though there were many elves graduating every year from the School of Elf Improvement, not many got the ultimate prize, the job of working for Santa.
Mrs Scott was at Santa’s workshop on this day, because Harold had called her late one night on her elf-phone, saying that with more children than ever in the world, they could use a bit more help.
After the tea arrived, and Mrs Scott had sampled some of the delectable fairy cakes from the workshop kitchen, she opened her briefcase and they got down to business.
“As you can appreciate,” she said, “every elf would love to work here at Santa’s workshop, but I know you can only use the cleverest, most capable elves. You have so much to do! So I’ve brought you three elf-assessments to take a look at.”
Mrs Scott took out three beautifully spiral-bound leather folders, with the name of an elf etched in gold on the front cover of each one.
“This is Huey”, she said. “Huey loves building musical instruments. During one of his exams, he built a piano, a clarinet, a huge noisy drum kit, a Didgeridoo, a nose flute and a plinkety plankety, all in under an hour. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Mrs Scott beamed.
“Well now,” said Harold looking impressed, “I’ve heard of most of those things of course, we have lots of them being built in the workshop right now actually, but what’s a plinkety plankety?”
“Oh,” said Mrs Scott, beaming with pride, “it’s a new instrument Huey invented himself! If he doesn’t come to work here, I’m sure he’ll be producing it for one of the big toy companies before the year is out.”
“Hmmm,” said Harold, “he sounds wonderful and would make a great addition to the team I’m sure, but the thing is, we’re not really having any trouble keeping up with musical instruments. Who else do you have?”
“Well,” said Mrs Scott, moving the second leather-bound volume to the top of the pile, “this is Stewy. Now Stewy is a genius at making toy kitchens, and all the things to go in the toy kitchens. Do you know,” she said, getting so excited that she spilled a bit of fairy cake all down her front, so it was just as well that her garments were elf-cleaning, “the other day, Stewy made a toy kitchen with a fridge that really gets cold? But that’s not the half of it. It only works when you put chocolate in the fridge. Put any other food in that thing, and nothing happens. Outstanding piece of work.”
“Very clever,” said Harold, “although I’m not convinced the boys and girls will want a fridge that only keeps one thing cool. And we do have some good engineers here. Still, he’s worth considering. And who is the last elf you wanted to show me?”
“Ah, well,” said Mrs Scott, suddenly looking a little fidgety, “I really wasn’t sure about whether to suggest Louis or not. Louis is special.”
There was something in the way Mrs Scott used the word “special” that immediately peaked Harold’s curiosity.
“What exactly do you mean by special?”
“Well, you see, Louis makes excellent use of his hearing. It’s not that his hearing is better than any of the other elves in the school, it’s just that he tends to take a lot more notice of what he’s hearing. Recently, we were manufacturing a load of ride-on toy tractors for a toy company, and one of the whizimybobs developed a fault!”
“Oh no,” said Harold, understanding exactly how serious a matter this was. “You get a problem with one of your whizimybobs and it can really set you back. Actually we had a fault with one of our whizimybobs here at Santa’s workshop last Christmas. It stopped a lot of our production for a week because no one picked up on it, and we nearly had to cancel Santa’s delivery altogether”.
“Well exactly,” said Mrs Scott. “If Louis hadn’t heard the subtle change in the machine caused by the problem with the whizimybobs, I think we would have lost the contract. We were so lucky he was around.”
“I’m intrigued,” said Harold. “We could definitely use someone with those skills. Tell me more about this Louis.”
“He’s very thorough,” said Mrs Scott. “He inspects things with his hands and often picks up on problems making things that we might miss visually. It’s been very useful to us more than once”.
“But why?” asked Harold, “why doesn’t he just use his eyes like everyone else?”
“Because his eyes don’t work,” said Mrs Scott. “Louis’s totally blind.”
“Blind?” Harold scratched his little head in utter bemusement. “How does he…how will he…what if he…I just don’t think a blind elf could work in our workshop.”
“I thought you might think that,” said Mrs Scott patiently, “but hear me out. Remember how you nearly had to cancel Christmas Eve once, because it was too foggy for Santa to travel. If it wasn’t for Rudolph, kids all around the world would have gone without presents that year.”
“Oh I remember it well,” sighed Harold. “It was the most scary day of my life. I was so stressed out I was beside my elf.”
“Then surely,” continued Mrs Scott, “you know that people with a range of abilities and gifts make Santa’s workshop run more smoothly! Louis can bring skills that many of your other elves don’t have.”
“You make a good point Mrs Scott,” Harold said. “Send him to us. We’ll take him on. I don’t want anyone getting hurt and there is a lot that goes on in this workshop, but we’ll give it a try.”
Louis arrived at Santa’s workshop the next day, with his little suitcase and his long white candy cane. He put it out in front of him, so he new when he was getting close to an obstacle. If the cane hit a wall or something left on the ground, he would feel it. And after being shown around the place, he soon started remembering where all the divisions of Santa’s great workshop were located. It wasn’t that difficult for Louis. He soon noticed how different the sounds of the machinery were depending on which part of the workshop he was in. Sometimes, his sense of smell helped too. Just like his hearing, it was no better than anyone else’s, but since he didn’t have his sight, he took more notice of what his other senses were telling him.
Louis was very excited about meeting Santa, but Harold explained that since Christmas was getting close, Santa was very busy preparing, and usually, elves just starting out didn’t get a chance to meet with the big guy.
Louis settled down to work as quickly as he could, but he wasn’t happy. He felt that he wasn’t being given as much responsibility as he was capable of. Everyone was very nice to him, but they just couldn’t imagine how he could do the things that needed to get done if he wasn’t able to see. Louis tried to be patient and explain.
“Since you’ve been able to see all your life,” he said, “you use your sight. You depend on it for a lot of things and that makes sense. But I’ve never been able to see, so I don’t know any different. I get by just fine without any sight. I might do things in a different way sometimes, but I still get the job done in the end.”
Still, the elves found it hard to give Louis a fair chance. It’s not that they meant any harm, they just were scared about him being hurt.
Then, one day, a mad panic developed in the mail room at Santa’s workshop. Every day at precisely 29 o’clock, a small earthquake could be felt, as the mail from all the children who had recently written to Santa got delivered to the workshop.
The mail elves had an efficient system of sorting through the mail, and making sure that all the requests from the girls and boys got put on Santa’s list. At the end of every day, Santa would always check the list twice, to be sure all the good children had their requests noted.
But today, the mail elves had a problem they didn’t know how to solve. They had received a group of letters that were nothing like they had ever received before. The mail elves prided themselves on being able to read every single language in the world. But these letters had them stumped. Rather than being written with squiggly characters on the page, these letters felt all bumpy. Hannah, one of the mail elves, said the pages reminded her of her teenage brother Brad, who was having a major problem with pimples. The pages, she said, looked and felt a bit like Brad’s face.
“Do you mean kids are now writing to us in pimple?” said Harold, who had been put in charge of solving the issue because of how urgent it was.
“I don’t think any child would be quite that dotty,” Hannah replied. “But I think we need to call an elf-development meeting, to see if anyone can solve this problem. Because Santa has made it clear, we need to do whatever it takes to make sure all girls and boys who write to us have their requests read, even if we can’t always grant them all”.
Elf-development meetings didn’t happen very often so close to Christmas, but this was an emergency. All the elves from around Santa’s workshop stopped what they were doing, and gathered together at exactly elve o’clock for the big meeting.
“For the first time in our history,” Harold announced, “we have received a group of letters from girls and boys that none of our team can read. Here’s a sample.”
Harold held up a page of the dot-filled writing. Everyone stared, first at the dotty page, then blankly back at Harold. No one had any idea what the writing was, or how to read it.
“The interesting thing about this writing is,” Harold said, “if you touch it, it feels very easy to distinguish by touch, almost as if you’re supposed to read it with your hands.”
Louis’s little ears pricked up. He couldn’t see the sample, but based on the description, he was pretty sure he knew what it was.
“May I please feel a page of that writing?” Louis asked.
Harold handed Louis a page filled with the dots. Louis took the fingertips of both index fingers, and started gently running his fingers across the page. He began to speak.
“Dear Santa. My name is Sam. I’m nine, and I can’t wait until your visit. For Christmas, I would please like a cool train set, one with plenty of awesome sounds and loud whistles if you can. My sister Amy is seven. She is a pest, so I think you should bring her a frog. Love, Sam.”
“How did you do that, and more to the point, what is that dotty stuff?” Harold asked.
“It’s Braille,” said Louis. “It’s the new way for blind people to read and write. These letters are from blind boys and girls. They’re writing to you themselves. You see, Braille lets blind children write to us here at Santa’s workshop, just like sighted children can.”
Suddenly, all the elves started jumping up and down and clapping. “Hooray for Louis! Hooray for Louis!”
The elves were happy because, thanks to Louis, they could make sure that all girls and boys, including those who read Braille, could get their presents on Santa’s list.
Louis spent a lot of time in the mail room after that, but that wasn’t all he did. The elves realised that just because you’re blind, it doesn’t mean you don’t have valuable skills that others may not have. They realised that Louis just did things differently. Not better, just differently. Soon, Louis was also put in charge of whizimybob inspection. The elves used to be worried that Louis would hurt himself, because whizimybobs have so many moving parts. But they knew that Louis was careful and capable, more capable at that particular job than anyone else.
One day, Harold came into the mail room to find Louis.
“The big guy wants to see you Louis,” Harold said.
“Santa? See me? Have I done something wrong?”
“No idea,” Harold said, “I was just asked to bring you to see him.”
Louis timidly knocked on Santa’s office door. “Ho, ho, ho!” came the reply. Louis opened the door, and walked into the office, which seemed to be shaking. It turns out Santa was happy to see Louis, and Santa’s enormous belly-laughter was making the whole office bounce up and down like a carnival ride.
“I wanted to see you in person Louis,” Santa said, “to thank you so much for your gift.”
“Gift?” said a puzzled Louis.
“Oh yes,” said Santa. “You know, every year, I give lots and lots of toys to girls and boys all over the world, and that’s wonderful. But your gifts are also very precious. You see, you showed us all here at the workshop that no matter who we are, we’re all special, we’re all unique, we can all do something no one else can do. Some of us are good at some things, some of us are good at others. Some of the elves here thought that just because you couldn’t see, you couldn’t contribute as much. But they just didn’t know better. Now everyone knows you’re a very important member of our team. We’d be lost without you. You showed all of us that the best gift we can give each other at Christmas is to love and appreciate everyone around us for who they are.”
And all these years later, every year, when he’s not looking after those pesky whizimybobs, you’ll find Louis in the mail room, making sure that all the Braille letters from blind children all over the world are making it onto Santa’s list, and being checked twice. Which just goes to show, there’s nothing you can’t do, as long as you believe in your elf.
By Randy Pierce
On December 11, 2004, a golden bundle of Labrador retriever came into this world as the ninth puppy in his litter. It was an inauspicious start perhaps for a pup who reached such lofty peaks of success well beyond climbing and guiding. The Mighty Quinn demonstrated love, loyalty, and friendship to me on an unrivaled level which those who witnessed typically found astounding. He had dedication and devotion for certain, and his competitive intensity showed an intelligence and focus beyond all my expectations. In his barely 9 years of life he lived more than most ever dream and he touched the lives of thousands. Much has been, deservedly, shared about Quinn’s life and death.
On the anniversary of his birth, I take a special few moments to reflect in joy upon how very fortunate I feel to have had this amazing boy in my life. I think about our mountain adventures and often play a video we call “Winter Celebrations with the Mighty Quinn.” Dina Sylvester created this video at the request of Michelle Brier and I am so thankful for both as it is a fight for me each time I listen to it. For me it captures the joy he felt in his life, or specifically in our winter hiking adventures. I listen for the subtle background sounds of interactions, the clear love and fun in our communications, as well as the playfulness which is interwoven in our work together. Playfulness was a centerpiece of his life for certain. There is no description to this video at this time though I have had it shared with me at times. I know there are countless moments of Quinn joy throughout, so I encourage you to enjoy the short three minutes of heart lifting opportunity to choose, like I will, joy.
While I cannot say there will be no hint of sadness in my reflections, I can tell you with certainty that I would gladly choose all of the moments of sadness I’ve ever experienced before, now, and ahead because of the loss of Quinn–I would consider all those moments of pain a bargain price for the incredible joy, love, courage, and freedom Quinn brought into my life during the time we were blessed to share company together. It is why in recollection each day, and especially on his birthday, I choose joy!
“Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and the mistakes we make because of those illusions.”
By Randy Pierce
I’m all too often aware of the many worthy causes which tug on all of our heart strings as we travel the paths along our journey. Sometimes the causes fill me with sadness and the empty feeling of being insufficiently able to help. Usually though, the very act of learning is because someone has guided me to the opportunity.
It was the night before our Peak Potential event as we were closing out preparations when two inspiring people made the first choice. Tom Cassetty is a friend who also coaches young athletes in running. That morning, the father of one of his young runners had unexpectedly died. We all scramble for how to respond in such dour times laced with well intentioned platitudes. Tom wanted to ensure the runners for the track meet the next mourning would have black arm bands to wear to memorialize the father and he needed someone who could sew them together for him late that night. My wife Tracy immediately volunteered and together they made it happen despite all the many reasons she could have understandably elected not to step forward.
I am so proud and appreciative of the kindness and caring in these two people for a simple step and still I felt and feel so concerned at the wife and eight children left behind by the sudden death of John Balletto.
John was their source of income through his business of moving and clean-out services Balletto & Sons in Hudson, NH. His wife Melanie intends to temporarily close the business to prepare for her ability to take over managing it going forward. Those changes will take a little bit of time and I hope that anyone in need of their services will consider reaching out to them as they re-open.
In the meantime, the holidays approach with many needs despite many caring people reaching out to help with their short term needs and if you, like me, are moved to help in any fashion; I wanted you to have access to their story and a place where you could donate.
By Randy Pierce
“Running is 90% Mental and 10% physical” – runner’s adage
Certainly there is much more than 10% physical involved in the running of a marathon, but the point is to convey how much mental toughness is likely to be involved in both the preparatory training and actual marathon.
On the physical side there is work to avoid injury and to have a training plan that allows for best chance to prepare while avoiding injury. Unfortunately, this plan doesn’t account for the random accident which happened to me in my own home on Friday, November 10. A blind misstep resulted in a mild dislocation of my ankle and fall down a flight of stairs and put my December 3 Marathon into some question. I was fortunate to have emerged with as little injury as happened. Good medical attention working in partnership with the goal of attempting to compete in the National Marathon Championship has had me resting the ankle as much as possible and will highlight the mental toughness necessary to manage the reduction of training in the final three weeks as well as the lingering aspects of the injury during the actual race. It increases my appreciation for undertaking the race with Jose Acevedo, a good friend and an experienced guide who has done this journey with me before. The doctors are on board and suggest only I’ll likely need to give extra healing and rest time after the California International Marathon is complete.
Why push it for this race? Even my doctors agree that our opportunity to compete in this epic an event is limited enough we should choose to make some extra sacrifices in the attempt. This is a race which the United States Association of Blind Athletes uses as the National Marathon Championship. It is not only an excellent opportunity to compete at a higher level for me but a chance to interact with some incredibly inspirational people who also happen to share some parts of a similar journey with me in sight loss. I want to emphasize a part of that statement again as I feel it’s so valuable to credit these athletes appropriately. They are inspirational people and athletes first and foremost. They also happen to be blind/visually impaired. I encourage you to visit the website introducing the athletes and their accomplishments:
I have another excellent reason to be out in California running from Folsom Prison to Sacramento center!
My good friend Greg Neault will be running his very first marathon. I’ve been fortunate enough to share his training progress as well as be a part of his running world in some fashion as we launched on our adventures from hiking here in NH to becoming world travelers, Tough Mudder Legionnaires to team members on the 2020 Vision Quest mission. I strongly believe in finding the experiences in life which resonate for you and doing what it takes to make the wish a plan and then reality. I also believe in supporting your team in their approach to these things and I am eager to share and celebrate the experience with a good friend.
So while Thanksgiving may be behind us now, I’m thankful for the incredible friendships in my life all year long and eager to test all of our physical and mental toughness on the grand stage provided by the 2017 California International Marathon! Good luck Greg and Jose and thank you for being part of this incredible journey!
By Carolina Tumminelli
Be the main character in your life, and the supporting character for others, especially in those lives of the people you hold dear.
When Randy asked me a few days ago if I wanted to write the guest blog about his foundation’s main event, Peak Potential, I was thrilled. When I realized that he asked me because of a conversation we had had months ago – marathons ago, difficult times ago, ages ago – I was honored. I have never heard an unkind word spoken about Randy or Tracy – in fact, everyone always says they are both inspirational, awe-inspiring, amazing. That’s all true, and last night’s event was a complete testament to that. But that wasn’t my take away from last night’s dinner and fundraiser.
I arrived fashionably early last night, and was immediately greeted by Tracy, Randy’s beautiful and also inspiring wife. Tracy isn’t just the woman behind the man – she takes on her own challenges – school while working full time, running, etc – and handles them with grace and sometimes, I’m sure, a few choice words, but nonetheless she handles them! I was handed my name tag, given a few details about the night, and directed to the room where the silent auction items were laid out. There were people milling about looking at items, but what struck me was the team that was still working diligently to take care of those last few details to make sure the event went smoothly. As my friends arrived, we drank, ate and chatted. And that’s the second time I was awe-struck again. I was surrounded by friends – amazing people who were doing amazing things, some small, some large – none more amazing than the next and everyone had chosen to spend an evening in support of our friend, Randy, because of what he meant to us.
The items for the silent auction were plentiful and amazing – from jewelry, to weekend stays at a ski resort, to a beautiful, handmade afghan blanket made by Randy’s mother (probably the most valuable item in that room). It was wonderful to see how many different people and organizations had come together to donate items to support 2020 Vision Quest.
We were slowly ushered into the dining room, where dinner was served. The food was delicious and the atmosphere lively – somehow you felt and knew that Randy and Tracy, and their friends, had orchestrated every last detail so that we would all have an amazing evening (although I must admit, the coffee was lacking in quality, but I’ll let it slide).
The Live Auction was next and brought laughter, bribery with puppies, bidding wars, and an extraordinary amount of money raised for the charity! And apparently someone is being fed homemade scones by Randy while riding in a hot air balloon – I’ll let you decide if that’s a prize or not.
Then, Randy spoke. I don’t want to say he gave a presentation – he does that almost every day to various schools and organizations. Nope, last night, Randy spoke. He spoke to a room full of friends, family, supporters – he spoke to his team – the people he has in his life who help him get through the big challenges, the daily struggles, the happy times and sad days. Randy spoke about being the main character in your life story – making the choices that allow you to be the best person you can be, to reach your Peak Potential. No matter who you are, you need to surround yourself with a team of people who will help you, guide you, catch you when you fall, laugh with you, and love you. Randy spoke about building that team so that you could be the main character in your life story, not just a backseat driver. And I’ll take it one step further: on top of being the main character in your own life story, be a supporting role for others, particularly those people that you hold dear. Life is too short to live it in solitude, thinking you can achieve your goals alone. Besides, when you get to the top of the mountain, you want someone there to share in the champagne, whiskey, coffee, and cake (okay, maybe not the coffee!).
Guys, life is not easy, but it wasn’t meant to be. We all have our stories, our struggles, our journeys. I own my own business, have two small children, attempt to be a runner, and try to be there for my friends and family – the people I hold close. Because without those people, I wouldn’t be able to even THINK about achieving the goals I want to achieve. They believe in me, even when I do not.
The final “event” of the night was a team/table event where people could make pledges towards 2020 Vision Quest. The team – everyone in the room – raised more than $13,000 in less than 10 minutes! That’s teamwork!
At the end of the night, I grabbed one of the posters that was being handed out. I didn’t open it up until this morning, but when I did, I knew it was a poster that was going to be hanging in my kitchen so that I could see it every day, so that my kids could see it every day. It is the embodiment of what I want to teach my children – climb your mountain, reach your peak potential, and remember, you can’t do it alone – build your team and be there for the people who have chosen you to be on their team.
By Randy Pierce
I am tremendously proud of the work we undertake with 2020 Vision Quest as well as the manner in which we approach highly efficient, earnest, honest and transparent financial practices. We do this because it is right and to ensure your support is honored and treasured to provide the best results your hard earned donations deserve. We have recently earned Guide Star’s highest level of charitable accolade: Guide Star Platinum Seal of Transparency!
Guide Star is the premier informational reporting agency for non-profit companies in the United States. It is a means for you to be confident that in conjunction with the great work we do in our educational outreach to thousands of school students and along with our fiscal support of Future In Sight and Guiding Eyes for the Blind; we are excellent caretakers of the responsibility of managing our charity and the financials of 2020 Vision Quest.
So as we enter the holiday season when many people, including Autumn and I, will be shopping a little more than usual, it’s an excellent time to announce that we have been registered with Amazon Smiles. This means your purchases on Amazon can help support our charity if you simply choose to select us as the charity you want to support with the Amazon Smiles Program.
Click the image to the right or use this link to automatically choose 2020 Vision Quest.
So if you want to be on Autumn’s nice list, why not put a smile on all of our faces and make this simple choice to help us make even more of a difference. You know we’ll treat your choice better than gold!
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