"It's my birthday today. I'm 60 years old. I don't usually do this for people, but I'll do it for you: [*breaks into song*]. I sing the blues. That's what I do!"
"The best thing about being a dad is the unconditional love I have for my children and they have for me. Like now: She was mad at me just a minute ago, and now she's hugging me. No matter what the stressors of the day have been, when I see them, I'm happy. They need me. I don't ever want to let them down. I think the most important thing to teach them is about Jesus, about their true Father, and about sharing that love. That love is the ultimate gift."
"Last year, at the age of 80, I solo hybrid paddled my canoe every inch of the Mississippi River, from its source at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota to the saltwater in the Gulf of Mexico. The river current helped, but all paddling and portaging was under my own human power. I’ve always been an adventurer, but the ultimate goal of this particular journey was to raise awareness and money for research so that a cure for Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes can be found. My grand niece Anna was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was four years old, so I named my canoe Anna in her honor. During the eighty day 2400-mile journey down the Mississippi, I met many parents whose children suffer from diabetes, and they shared their stories with me. There’s nothing wrong with giving attention to adult diseases---I would say the more the better---but we can’t forget the hardships these children are enduring. They need equal time and attention.
"Not only did the Cruising for a Cure Adventure reach and exceed our fundraising goals for diabetes research---in fact, we met ALL our goals, including time limit---but I also set a world record as the oldest person to solo paddle the entire length of the Mississippi. SPOT Tracker was with me all the way, tracking my position, and the crew of Adventureitus Productions accompanied me in separate canoes and have turned the trip into a documentary called Dale Sanders: Source to Sea.
"I’m considering hiking the Appalachian Trail next. The oldest person to have done it was 81, so I’m going to have to wait till I’m 82 to break that record. I’d like to issue a challenge to people of any age anywhere to get out there and find some adventure you may only have dreamed about. Do it. You never know what surprises await you!"
Slogan for the trip: ‘Paddle the Mississippi River Source to Sea in 80 days at 80 years old’
Trailer for Dale Sanders: Source to Sea by Adventureitus Productions:
Dale Sanders, The Grey Beard Adventurer
Dale's website: http://www.greybeardadventurer.com/
Documentary: Dale Sanders: Source to Sea
Adventureitus Productions: http://www.adventureitusproductions.com/
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/dalesanderssourcetosea
JDRF Diabetes Association: http://diabetesfoundation.jdrf.com/info/jdrf/
"My grandmother taught all of us in the family to help each other, and we have. I'm a good man, and I always will be. I'm a shining star."
“When I was a teenager in Russia, I attended art school and painted quite a bit. I was pretty good and actually won a couple of awards, but I never did anything with it after I graduated. Instead, I concentrated on making jewelry, which I’ve done for fourteen years now. But then I went through a divorce. It was really hard emotionally, and after my son went to bed in the evenings, I couldn't go to sleep. I’m not a person who can just watch TV and do nothing, so I picked up a pencil and began to draw again, then to paint in acrylics and watercolor. Sometimes I would stay up until midnight or later. It helped me cope so that I wouldn’t feel so alone. It helped me. It really helped me through.”
Olga King's work is available for purchase at Palladio.
Betty & Patrick
BETTY: "We had known each other off and on for years and kept running into each other and ending up at the same places, but we were just buddies. We enjoyed chatting, but that was it. Then one evening I asked him over. When he got to my house, I had a fire in the fireplace, a bottle of wine, and Billie Holiday playing in the background. It was a done deal then [*laughs*]. He was hooked. We've been together ever since."
PATRICK: "When I stepped through the door that night, I was awestruck. I still am. Plus, she liked The Quiet Man. That's my date test movie."
"The best thing about 2nd grade is that next year I get to be in 3rd grade, and in 3rd grade you're allowed to do experiments that involve fire!"
"My dad is divorced, my brother's divorced, and now I'm divorced. I guess I'm carrying on the family tradition. It's disappointing that my life has turned out this way, but I kind of expected it."
“The odds were against me from the start, but I was determined that with my grit and grind, I could overcome any obstacle along the way. I kept telling myself, ‘My story will shine like glitter one day so I’ve got to keep going.’ In South Memphis where I’m from (zip code 38126), survival and success rates for young people are low, but those statistics didn’t sound like facts to me. I took them as a challenge. I stayed out of the streets and kept busy with the Boys and Girls Club, Streets Ministries, flag team, volleyball team, the MIFA COOL program, and numerous leadership positions. I knew I had to keep going. I couldn’t let my childhood repeat itself, so I held myself accountable for my actions and my future. In May of 2012, I graduated from Booker T. Washington High School.
“After graduation, I applied to over 25 colleges, got accepted to every one of them, and just over half offered me scholarships. During my freshman year at UT Martin, my mom lost her job and my dad passed away, so all of my financial support was gone. My mom couldn’t afford to send me to college, she couldn’t afford any dorm supplies, school supplies, or transportation for me to go up the highway, but I still had the mind to go. Donations came pouring in from the community and my church family, and God worked everything out. I'm really not sure how I did it, but I did. I’m 21 years old and a first generation college graduate! Despite the odds and the struggles, I managed to keep my head in the books, made Dean's List every semester, completed my degree in three years, and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work in December 2015.
“I’m working full-time with troubled youth now, getting established in a career, looking for an affordable apartment and a car, and thinking about pursuing more education. I want to use my degree to help individuals see their full potential the way I did. Hardship is all I know, so I’m ready for that challenge. I'm pretty sure I'll find the strength to keep going!”
PaTreka Wells works full-time with a local organization dedicated to providing services to emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families.
"Both my parents were architects and worked from home, so they employed a woman named Lucille Hawkins from Whitehaven to help raise me. Years later when I was an adult, I wanted to figure out a way to give back to kids in the area she came from. My husband and I have owned an equestrian training and riding business for several years, so in 2013 we started the Lucille Hawkins Memorial Urban Equestrian Program (named in her honor) for any kid (age 10-18) who attends summer camp at the Whitehaven Community Center. We partner with the city of Memphis, and there’s no extra fee for the instruction. It’s just whatever the family already pays to send their child to camp. We don’t get any money from the city. We provide transportation, and the kids learn how to take care of the horses, how to keep them healthy, how to clean stables, how to ride, and how to get the horses ready for competition. It’s hard work, it’s demanding, and it takes a lot of patience, but for kids who do well and want to continue after the camp program, we provide them a lifetime of free year-round lessons (including transportation from Whitehaven to the stables and back). It’s not charity. It’s an opportunity. There will always be careers working with horses, and we want to help make those available to kids who really want them. Once kids find something that really motivates them, they develop the drive to succeed.
"I believe that when you’re excellent at something, you have to give back. You have to reach kids who are coming along behind, because otherwise there’s not going to be anyone to help you in your business later on. Everybody complains that the hardest thing about having a business is finding trustworthy, reliable people to work for you. If you give back and help younger people develop the skills they’re going to need, they’ll be prepared to step in and fill those roles. It’s a mutually beneficial effort. I love Memphis, and I especially love helping kids who may not have the same opportunities as those in other parts of the city."
Images below courtesy of Mckrell Baier and the Southern Blues Equestrian Center:
Mckrell & Christian Baier
Southern Blues Equestrian Center / 1707 Quinn Rd / Collierville
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
FB: Southern Blues Equestrian Center