The last five weeks have been a whirlwind of events, photography and deadlines. In this time, I was fortunate to meet some amazing people and to learn a bit about character, compassion and dedication. On a personal note, I took up running four weeks ago. It helps calm the mind.
I met Meb Keflezighi the week before my 37th birthday. Yes, he won the Boston Marathon and that is amazing. He was the underdog; determined and motivated by a crowd of cheers. Yet, he and his brother possess this strength of character and perseverance that is admirable. Their family left the civil war in Eritrea to resettle in America. They are members of a large family of overachievers who went on to become lawyers, doctors and athletes. They were a family that supported each other, believed in each other and pushed each other along the way.
Meb's story is extraordinary, but at my nonprofit's refugee resettlement program we see families and individuals come each day with only a suitcase and hope. They struggle. They learn a new culture. They learn a new language. They face discrimination. They persevere. They dig a little deeper just a few second each day to get to the next. They are strong.
In my time behind the lens, I have been so fortunate to meet some people who left a huge impression. Each Memorial Day, my thoughts return to Fred Peterson who I traveled to France with to walk the beaches in Normandy for the D-Day Anniversary. I spent hours with Mr. Peterson at his Connecticut home before the trip documenting his journey from WWII to the present. He was always patient with me and let me take just one more photo. His smile would put everyone at ease. He was a gentle soul and one I will never forget. When we stood before Dog Red beach, I saw the tears flood his eyes as he recalled storming the beaches with is comrades and looked towards the pillboxes where the enemy fired. Fred taught me this on that trip: There is no greater love than to lay down your life for another. Fred was a true hero.
Now if I can just keep up the miles and be just half as strong as a these two men. In a few weeks a 5k should be a like a walk in the park.