I began running in February of 2014, while my husband, Marcus, was training for his first half marathon in Pittsburg, Pa. His efforts motivated me, so I downloaded the ”Couch to 5K” app and got started.
I was bit by the running bug when we picked up his bib and bag of goodies for the Pittsburg race. The atmosphere was electric when I left Marcus in his assigned corral to wait for the race to begin. With my course map in hand, I proceeded to find my first location to cheer him on. When I saw Marcus running, I was so proud of him; he was running his first half marathon. Given the size of this event, I was unable to see Marcus cross the finish line in person, but his verbal account along with the photo sealed it for me; I was going to be a part of crossing future finish lines with him.
I continued my training and before long I was able to run a 5K without stopping. Shortly thereafter, my Dad’s (Raymond Dewayne Summers, Sgt. E7, Vietnam 65-66) health began to decline due to lung cancer, so I made as many trips home as possible so I could spend time with him. While visiting, running in Okeena Park became part of our daily routine. My dad would take his spot on the bench in the shade, and I would take off running with music playing in my ears. When I got close to him, I would silence the music so I could hear his cheers of “Go Girl Go.” My Dad had coined this phrase for me earlier, but hearing it when I ran past him made it very special for me.
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In line with the motto “Take a short break, catch your breath, make some people happy,” we used our Social Day 2015 as a part of our Global Impact Month to strengthen the team. Our job was for a team of eight to paint the recreation room, hallway and kitchen in the childcare center in Hofheim-Lorsbach, near Frankfurt. Overall, the project was “one of those days again that it’s worth going to work,”summed up one of the participants at the end of the day. Even if work this particular day had nothing to do with e-mails, procedures and files, it was a great day filled with paint splatters and freshly painted walls.
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Today Dallas is kicking off its Annual Giving Campaign! This year’s campaign theme is Bright start. Big heart, and it’s an opportunity for employees to give back to the community and lend a helping hand to those who need our support. As the lead of the Dallas site committee, I see the front line of our charitable contributions and I have never seen a use of Foundation funds that hasn’t impressed and inspired me. As such, I thought long and hard about my donation this year, in particular how I could increase my giving while still getting the mortgage paid! Charity feels good, I’m not disputing that, but we all have a comfort level and I wondered to myself “is there a way for me to give more without it hurting?” Well, a few weeks ago, on laundry day, something clicked.
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On Saturday, September 12th I participated with 164 Dallas employees and their families in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk in downtown Dallas. Employees came together and successfully raised $9,075 for heart health benefiting the American Heart Association (AHA). Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. I walked to honor my mama and this is my “Life is Why” story:
After my mother died of congestive heart failure in 2013, years passed before I realized her forgetfulness and inability to do simple tasks were symptoms of heart disease. At first, my mother’s memory loss wasn’t alarming. However, the first time she forgot something major it frightened me because my mother had always been full of life and wisdom. We thought it happened because she was just getting older and more forgetful.
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