The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are in full swing, and I for one, couldn’t be happier. The Olympics represent something different to everyone. For some, it’s marveling at the amazing achievements of the best athletes in the world. For others, it’s an opportunity to engage in political and social dialogue on a world stage.
For me, it’s about the Olympic spirit. I must admit, I get caught up in medal counts and nationalistic pride like many, but then, inevitably, something happens that reminds me of why I truly love the Olympics.
I recently read a Washington Post article about a Russian cross-country skier who fell shortly into the race and damaged his ski. He hobbled along the best he could until he fell again, further exacerbating the problem. When it seemed as if all hope was gone of finishing the race, a man leapt onto the course with a new ski and helped the Russian skier replace it.
One might think that the Good Samaritan was a Russian teammate or coach, but instead, he was the coach of the Canadian team – Justin Wadsworth. When asked why he helped his competitor, Wadsworth responded, “I wanted him to have dignity as he crossed the finish line.”
This spirit reminds me of what we do every day here at the Heart of Florida United Way. Sometimes, members of our community fall and they just need a little extra support to get up and keep moving.
Heart of Florida United Way serves our community in a multitude of ways such as by connecting those in need to vital resources through 2-1-1, United Way’s free, 24-hour information and referral helpline, or helping promote student success through our Together for Tomorrow program. These efforts are always made by caring, dedicated professionals who understand the importance of preserving the dignity of those we serve. I am proud to be part of this team!
Submitted by Heath Wells, Heart of Florida United Way — Manager, School VISTA Volunteer Programs