“Volunteers are not paid—not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.”
Joshua Kraft reiterated these words at the 2015 Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards presented by the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation at Gillette Stadium. The room was filled with people who have made lasting impacts on the community with their outstanding volunteerism, and I just couldn’t believe I was among these remarkable people making remarkable differences with causes they all so passionately believe in.
About a month ago, I received a call from my very good friend saying that I was chosen as one of the recipients for this year’s award. I had known that she had nominated me, but truthfully, I was never expecting this phone call. So, as you might imagine, my reaction went something along the lines of, “wait. What? You’re kidding me. Stop it right now. Oh my God, you’re not kidding, are you?” It took about ten minutes and a three-way phone call with my mom on the other end to fully grasp what was going on. Although, I must admit about five of those minutes were spent trying to explain to my mom she was on a three-way call (sorry not sorry, mom). It was such a surreal moment to hear that, out of hundreds and hundreds of entries, this organization chose me. Not only would I be getting recognized for my volunteerism with Working On Walking, but I would also be receiving a donation to my nonprofit organization at an award luncheon with 25 other remarkable volunteers.
On the day of the luncheon, Robert Kraft welcomed us all with a beautiful speech about his late wife Myra and all her volunteering efforts throughout the years before she passed away from cancer. She was an incredible, selfless woman who did so much for her community, and I couldn’t have felt more grateful to have had the opportunity to represent her at this award. In being there and being surrounded by all these inspiring people, I realized it is moments like this that remind me to never lose sight of the dream I had at just ten years old.
When I was a little girl, my parents taught me how to fight through the challenges of life. They taught me how to be strong in spite of my weaknesses, and most importantly they taught me how to never give up. Through a little strength, determination, and the support of such remarkable people in my life, I have learned that anything is possible. I will forever remember this day and be eternally grateful to the Kraft family and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation who have recognized my efforts in volunteering and generously donated to Working On Walking. I am sincerely thankful to have shared this experience with such a reputable organization and for giving me further opportunity to bring awareness to my disease. It has been an incredible honor.
**Thank you to Kim, who nominated me for this award and always believed in me since the very beginning. She and her husband, Michael, are such important contributors to WOW, and I don’t know where I’d be without their support on this journey. Thank you to my friend, Stacey James, for giving us a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Gillette Stadium after the luncheon. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. And, thank you to my extraordinary parents for teaching me the true meaning of strength and perseverance. I am nothing without your love, support, and guidance.