Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Tale of Two Debs

Radio operator to the tower
Debbie's comin' in for a landing
Oh put your head between your knees
Caused by the vibrations of love
They're about to shake me to pieces


I wanted to talk about two of the most inspirational people I know and they both happened to be named Deb. One is from Indianapolis and walks with the assistance of two canes and the other just completed her 200th marathon and is in training for her first ironman triathlon. The thing I struggled to do in 30 days? she is going to knock out in a day.

Deb, the marathone,r leads a hiking group every day at the ridge. She is smiling, funny, respectful and caring. A retired teacher and principal she knows when to treat us like kids and she knows when to treat us like adults. She has been there when I sweated, she has been there when I have scaled things I only dreamed of, and she has watched my throw a supreme hissy fit when we turned away from the vans one hike. I believe my exact quote was " Deb, WTF are we doing, the vans are that way and we are walking the other way? She smiled and said I'm not leading the hike. Besides having completed marathons all over the states and all over the world, she has done it while receiving doses of chemotherapy. She has raised a beautiful family and has taught and inspired so many ridgers. She likes to say she cusses me every afternoon when she gets on her bike to train. She likes to tell me a story about watching me do a sprint-tri and being inspired to sign up for the ironman. It's a wonderful story that makes me smile. I don't really believe it but it sure feels good that she tells me it. Here is a picture after she hiked 2.5 hours with a group that morning. Know where she is headed? Out to do a 100 mile training ride. Next time you're tired and don't want to think about giving it your all, think of this little lady and what she is doing.

I was really happily surprised to see my friend Deb Ewing back this year after meeting her for the first time one year ago. She used a walker last year to move around and would head out on the stop sign hike or walk the neighborhoods using her walker. This year she was back for two weeks. There was no walker in sight. She had just spent many weeks on the road travelling by herself and exploring the best this country has to offer. Much like the other Deb she spent her entire life passing on the wisdom of a teacher to her students. And she continues to teach.
She wanted to do so much more than she did last year, and she did. She got on the van every morning, rode it out the park. If the terrain was unfriendly she would walk the roads or paths of the area. She went to classes, kick-boxed, walked the treadmill at a 12% incline and just reminded everyone that there is no excuse not to get up and challenge life to give you more.

On her last day we made a special date to do some things she had never done. We went out to Snow Canyon and with two canes, and two tons of perseverance she walked up a mountain. I wanted to weep. It shows there is nothing we can't do if we want to. As my hometown continues to struggle with a political impasse, that at the heart of it threatens to severely limit benefits, salaries and bargaining power of teachers, I thought it was important to remind people that inside every teacher entrusted to teach and nurture a child, is a person that will continue to teach and inspire even when they leave the class room. These two Deb's will always motivate, teach, and inspire me. Peace, Love and Education, Jim

P.S. Congrats to a 3rd Deb, Miss Deb Lee, ... I met her at the Ridge in November and yesterday she became Mrs. Deb Tew.


Anonymous said...

Best. Post. Ever. Loved it!

I really wish you would believe people when they tell you how you've inspired them!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing such a beautiful, inspriring and wonderful tribute
"A Tale of Two Debs"
You, my dear friend, inspire us all.


Robin said...

Yes, what an inspiration you and the Two Debs are. I had to share this with a few friends because no matter how rough life seems to be, you CAN overcome any obstacle.

Anonymous said...

Jim, you continue to inspire me, even though we've never met. Thank you for this post, even though I am sitting here crying. I sooo needed to be reminded not to give up, that I can do anything, and that I will always have the support of Fitness Ridge with me.