That cute little man to the right in the photo is Matthew Young, the son of a friend and co-worker of mine in Virginia, John Young. Before I get to why Matthew has made the blog, I need to provide a little background information.
Pinpointing the genesis of this is difficult…but a couple of years ago, a buddy of mine, Chris Reinhardt, and I became aware of a “Team Relay” Run that is held in September. This event involves a 12-person team running a 200-ish mile, 36-leg relay from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC. Chris and I are both “big talkers” and immediately began planning for what would certainly be a ton of fun. We were all over it! Well, our enthusiasm and excitement about the prospects of such fun with 10 other friends was easily and rapidly overcome by our inability to garner enough interest from others and a general unwillingness to “be in charge” of such a thing. Basically, we thought it would be great fun; but wanted someone else to do all the work getting us there…so, it did not happen in 2008.
Well in 2009, the tide turned a little. One of us (ME) was willing to work harder to make it happen. The other one, Chris, said, “I’ll help as much as I can…just don’t make me be in charge.” This is probably for the best…because I can confirm that Chris was once put “in charge” of acquiring a stroller for this growing family. Well, last I heard the PINK…yes PINK…stroller he obtained and used until the abusive catcalls from his loving neighbors as he sashayed along the streets was too much to take has set a record for most Yard Sales without a buyer.
I have no clue why; but for some reason recruiting seemed to be much easier in 2009. It was not long before we had the makings of a rather awesome team and we officially had a group “committed” to participating in this deal. I was thrilled and excited and looking forward to the late September event. It was going to be loads of fun.
That was BEFORE I got “The Call”…my orders had me reporting to Norfolk to begin my mobilization to Afghanistan a mere 10 days PRIOR to this run. Bummed…Big Time! To rub salt in the wound, I quickly did the math and my orders also had me returning in 2010 less than a month after this year’s edition. So, here I was…the guy who’d cajoled a few folks into participating now having to back out. Well, what was a loss for me was a significant gain to the Team. Another friend and co-worker, Jeff Kent, stepped up to assume the duties of leader and logistician of the Team…and believe me, they flourished as a result…yes, I kept close tabs on all activities because I wanted “back in” as soon as the opportunity presented itself. I still held out hope 2010 was a possibility. Apparently, what Blacksburg lacks in producing leaders, Longwood College (Jeff’s alma mater) easily manages to handle.
Well…while I was in transit last September between Norfolk, VA and Columbia, SC…my good buddies set out to complete this 195 mile relay run. I really missed being there and distinctly remember thinking about them often over the two days they were running. As expected, the reviews I received were wonderful. Everyone had a blast and without hesitation most of the team set out to “do it again next year” (Sept 2010).
As the planning for this year’s event began to materialize, Jeff and team appropriately decided to take things one step further. Discussion began about identifying a worthy charity and using this opportunity to raise awareness and funds for something worthwhile. Well, they did not have to look far….right smack in the middle of the team was John Young who has a son, Matthew (pictured here) living with Type III Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). OI is a genetic disorder characterized by fragile bones that break easily. It is also known as “brittle bone disease.” From a distance, I applauded the team for such a wonderful idea and quietly wished I would get a lucky break and get home earlier to perhaps be able to participate myself.
The lucky break came and I have secured a spot on Team B.O.N.E. (Bunch O’ Nuts Exercising) for this year’s event. I am just THRILLED!! Thanks to Jeff for continuing the superior planning and orchestration required to get this group organized and ready for September.
Our Team is a diverse group of “mixed NUTS”…ranging in age from late-twenties to mid-forties. We have single folk and married folk…mothers and fathers. Currently, we all reside in Virginia or Maryland; but our roots are from places like North Carolina (can I get an AMEN!), Virginia, New York (the state not THE CITY), Maryland, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and even a New Jersey American (not sure what Exit?). The Alma Maters (Undergrad and/or Grad Schools) include: Longwood College, Tennesse Tech, Virginia Tech, James Madison Univ, ClemPson Univ, Mount St Mary’s Univ, Troy State Univ, Penn State, Mary Washington College, Christian Brothers Univ (the “benevolent” Buccaneers, I’d imagine), Univ of Michigan, and of course…that blessed Georgia Institute of Technology!
Oh Yea…we have real names too: Jeff, Chris, Jennifer S, Andy, Al, John, Brian, Sandy, David, Karina, Jennifer D & Todd. These are some truly GREAT AMERICANS with whom I will be gleefully pounding the pavement…quality folks. Its gonna be great!
Yes…you may have figured it out by now…I am shamelessly using my blog to cast my net as wide as I can to hopefully raise a few bucks (and awareness) in honor of The Young Family (John, Mary, and Matthew). I had a choice…I could ask for a lot of money from a few folks OR ask for a little money from a lot of folks. Here, you can find the Team B.O.N.E. Page to learn more and make a donation. You’ll see some team members have set up their own “pages” for fundraising. You have the option of donating to the “Team” through the Team’s page or click on individuals and donate that way.
Thanks for hanging in there for a rather long story and little bitty “pitch”…the therapeutic value in the story is significant for me. I really am looking forward to getting home and this event is something tangible that represents lots and lots of stuff I really am “missing” while I’m over here…not the least of which is picking on Reinhardt. I love you, MAN!
Your consideration and support are most appreciated. God Bless You ALL!!