March 08, 2021
One of the most important things to me as a person is to always do my best to recognize when someone is going out of their way to help and support me or my causes. I have come to call those people my own personal, Hand Up Heroes. They are a huge part of the inspiration that led me to create this program and I promise to you that throughout this next year, I will do my best to convince all of my Hand Up Heroes, to let me share the stories of how they’ve helped me become the person I am today.
I had no idea when I said yes, that I would be walking away with a new friend and mentor. Nor did I truly realize at the time the impact that they would have in my life over the coming months and years. I arrived on the first day just in time for a welcome party at my Host’s house. It was a fun lively group of people who were more than welcoming of a stranger in their community. Everyone made it point of speaking with me and had a legitimate interest in getting to know who I was and where I was going.
After about an hour and half, things had finally slowed down and I made my way to get some of the amazing bbq, I had been smelling since I arrived at the house. As I spoke with all these awesome people, I feared I looked like my Labrador as she patiently waits for her dinner, with the drool running uncontrollably out the side of her mouth. As I looked for a place to sit down I saw my friend Remembrance, the organizer of the event, waving me over to where she was sitting. As I sat down she introduced me to her best friend Heather; I looked at Heather and I instantly recognized that the she was no ordinary Heather, this was Heather Thomson of Real House Wives of New York. I wasn’t sure what to do or say; I was intimated to say the least. I am not use to being around anyone famous, so I wasn’t sure what do to, but within seconds Heather made all of that go away. She started asking me questions about my life and before I knew it all the craziness of who this person just faded to the background. Just as quick as the weekend started it ended and as we all said our goodbyes. Heather just looked at me as said, “Talk to you soon, ED.” I thought it was really cool of her to say, but I never thought someone of her caliber would want a friendship with a washed up old grunt.
Boy I was wrong, not only did Heather keep in touch, she would find a number of ways to help me achieve my goals. What I appreciate most about her mentoring is that she never handed me anything, she expected me to put in the work. When I needed help she showed up. When I needed an opinion she would give an honest one that would encourage growth. Most importantly she was always there to talk me through things when I wanted to give up.
One of the most pivotal moments in our friendship came in February 2018; we were preparing for her expedition to Nepal, for which I was one of the photographers. I was achieving so many dreams and goals that I should have been on cloud nine, but the recent loss of my best friend to veteran suicide had me spiraling backwards. In an attempt to turn the adversity I was facing into something positive, I committed to bringing eight wheelchairs to Nepal for the kids who needed them at the Center for Disabled Children Assistance. I was crazy busy preparing for the trip and had no idea how I was going to do it, so I called Heather. She told me she’s got my back and to run with it, so I did.
I said, “I think I am going to miss my mark. I don’t have anyone else left to ask and I afraid the ones I have asked are going to file a restraining order on me to leave them alone.” I was distraught and felt like I was going to fail at honoring my best friend. With a calm reassuring voice of a big sister she said, “We’ve got this! Don’t worry! I’ve got your back!” Later that night I got a text from her to look at the fundraiser page. We had exceeded our goal. She encouraged, taught, and when it looked like my 110% effort wasn’t going to be enough, she quietly stepped in and helped. That’s a mentor! That’s a friend! That’s Agape Love! And it is that agape love that Heather routinely gives that makes her one of my personal Hand Up Heroes.
Heather and I are once again partnering on a project and I look forward to sharing more about that in the coming days and weeks. Until then, what I can tell you it is all about is giving a Hand Up to those who need it.
March 20, 2021
March 12, 2021 4 Comments
March 05, 2021 3 Comments