Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Head For The Cure 5k - Columbia, MO

April 26, 2015 ~ It's time to get ready for another 5k! Jacki Swank asked me to do this one and I know she is going to push me to grab a personal record.... I think I'm ready!
The Head for the Cure Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness and funding for research in the fight against brain cancer. Head for the Cure works to inspire hope for the community of brain cancer patients, their families, friends, caregivers and other supporters, while celebrating their courage, spirit and energy.
Head for the Cure events mark a day of celebration where those diagnosed with brain cancer are honored and celebrated by their friends and families, those who have lost their battles are remembered, and we carry on the fight. We are defeating brain cancer, step by step.

Roger Garmon was a good man. He was a wonderful family friend that lost his battle with brain cancer in 2007. While this race stands for someone we loved that is no longer with us we will remember Roger by running this for him. We hope one day they will find a cure to a horrible disease that claims too many lives each year. 

It was a cold morning.... I was ready to run! 

Ready, Set, Go! 

This was before the official time was in.....

Well I gotta say that Jacki is one heck of a motivator and pushed me to setting a personal record for 2015! Finished my 8th 5k for 2015 in 32:57:9! Thank you Jacki! 

The Inaugural Fairy Tale 5k - Columbia, MO

April 25, 2015 ~ It's the Inaugural Fairy Tale 5k benefiting TRYPS Institute at Stephens College and we weren't going to miss it! Look y'all... it's Elsa, Anna and Olaf! Oh and we can't forget Brenda, Shiela, Roni and I!

TRYPS Institute at Stephens College is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. It's mission is to teach, to reach and to inspire through the magic of theatre. The Fairy Tale 5k assists with funds for TRYPS Institute's scholarship assistance and weekday school ticket-subsidy programs.

Just a few of the characters along the course....
It's always motivating to see people throughout the course cheering you on! 

Woo Hoo! We did it! 
Roni did a great job as I was really trying to push her. We have a goal that each time we do a race we try to beat our time from the race before and we did it!
Finish Time 36:26

Next up it was time for Brenda and Shiela to cross the finish line! 

This was a fun run and I am glad we did it! 
Great job ladies! 

This marks my 7th 5k for 2015!

Central Missouri Honor Flight # 32

April 20, 2015 ~ Who needs sleep? Not this girl... After an exciting night at the 50th Annual ACM Awards in Dallas, TX it was time to get to the airport so I could hop a plane and meet the Central Missouri Honor Flight in Washington, DC! Yep it's super early but there wasn't going to be anything in my way keeping me from traveling with our veterans on CMHF # 32!

Talk about perfect timing....
When I booked my flight from Dallas, Texas to Washington, DC I was worried how long it might take to get off the plane and get a taxi but I arrived at the World War II Memorial 10 minutes before the buses of our veterans arrived! I knew the rest of the day would be absolutely perfect!

The taxi driver dropped me off on this side of the World War II Memorial which was really cool because it's a side I had never seen before. Strange I know but usually we are more focused on the inside of the memorial rather than this side. I'm glad I had a few minutes to see it from this side.

I wanted to see what a panoramic picture would look like from this view... no matter how you look at this memorial it is beautiful! 
 After a quick walk to the other side a nice surprise would be waiting for our veterans....

Students from Virginia traveled to the World War II Memorial with name of our veterans on decorated poster board and lined the entrance of the memorial. The veterans were moved by this wonderfully kind gesture and something I don't think has been done before. Job well done students!

The best part of this... I came through at the end and there were a group of kids talking. One of the students said "That was so emotional" as the other students agreed and began chatting about this experience. If those students only know how emotional it was for the veterans and the those traveling with Central Missouri Honor Flight.... 

What a great group of American Heroes! 

The next stop would take them to the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial...
With each passing flight that Central Missouri Honor Flight takes sadly they see less World War II veterans able to travel on these trips and they are starting to see a slight drop in Korean War veterans flying with us. With a decrease in these two conflicts they are able to take more Vietnam veterans on these flights which is always bittersweet. The Honor Flight was created because of the World War II veterans and I am so glad to see our Vietnam veterans have the opportunity to see their memorial as well. All conflicts deserve to go on a trip of a lifetime and I just wish there was a way to get them all on plane big enough to take all of our veterans to Washington, D.C. to see their memorials.
I have been helping with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial etchings and it's an honor to help our veterans flying on a Central Missouri Honor Flight find the names of their family, friends, and brothers names on the wall and take an etching or a rubbing of their name to take back home. 

Going to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (aka: "The Wall") is very emotional for me and I can't even begin to imagine what it's like for these men and women. Many ask why we do the etchings and I can only say that it's a way to take a piece of memory home. These young men and women never got to come home and yet many of these men and women that travel on these honor flights never got to say goodbye. Going to this memorial is like finally saying goodbye and they are able to come to peace with the past. Etchings are something they treasure for years. 
This young man, a Vietnam veteran, was serving along side another young man who would draw characters on cardboard pieces. He wanted to find the guy who drew these as he was killed in action 4 days after these were drawn back in 1969. He kept the originals but wanted to give those drawings back to the man that created them.
(It's stories like this that really pull at your heart)
We had a heck of a time finding his name but with a little digging he was able to find his real name. While we aren't exactly sure why he signed like this we can only imagine it was his nickname or what his buddies called him. Often times this is pretty common to have nicknames that have nothing to do with their real names which make it difficult to find someone they served with.
(He signed the drawings as RAS or Stephens yet his real name was Stanley Rykaczewski)

With more Vietnam veterans going on the flights we have more names that they would like to find on "The Wall". We encourage the veterans to turn in any names prior to the trip so that we can do a little homework before we leave making it easier to locate the names on the walls. Many times names don't come to mind until they are at the memorial and we do what we can to help locate names. It's the least we can do for these veterans and it means a lot to them.

After a wonderful day with our veterans it was time to head home. As we get to our gate at the airport we look outside and see a beautiful rainbow. We can't help but think it's one of our guardians that was taken far too early from cancer just saying hello. Mike Miller... we miss you like crazy!

A huge thank you to everyone involved in the planning, setting up, and coordinating every single detail that goes into a Central Missouri Honor Flight. Without supporters, contributors, volunteers and our veterans none of this would be possible. It feels good to be apart of something that really means so much to so many people!

50th Annual ACM Awards!

April 19, 2015 ~ Today is the big day! Being able to attend the 50th Annual ACM Awards is something I have wanted to do for a few years and I can't believe we are actually here! The best part is being here with Brandon, my momma, Gene and Shelly DeVore! I've been looking forward to this day for a whole year! (You had to get your tickets a year in advance)

 Since we got in late last night we just took our time getting up today which meant that we waited to eat until lunch! Figured we would have a good lunch and then relax a little before heading to the awards show. We love beef and Saltgrass Steak House was going to fix our hunger....

and Gene's thirst!
(Pretty sure our waitress didn't get up early enough to deal with us today!)

Cowboy Gene shows us his mad fiddlin' skills!
It's how we roll in Dallas, Texas! 

Momma always told me to be nice to people so I was tryin' to be friendly to the locals...
You know....just letting them know I was in town! Ha! 

We headed back to the hotel to chill out and take our time getting ready to take the shuttle to ATT Stadium. It was kind of nice to have a little down time and catch a little nap!
I am so glad we got the shuttle option for this trip. Being able to fully enjoy this without having to worry about which highways/roads to take and trying to find parking was awesome.  Pulling up to ATT Stadium was so exciting and we couldn't wait to get inside!

The Academy of Country Music Awards put an awesome video together so that we could see how everything was transformed from a football stadium to the place that would hold the 50th Annual ACM Awards! Truly amazing to watch!

 Walking inside and seeing this massive place was so awesome! We made it to our seats and it finally sunk in that we were actually here for the 50th Annual ACM Awards and they were doing it big... Texas big! The smiles on our faces were just as big!
(Sadly they wouldn't allow cameras in the show so we could only use our cell phones... dang it!)

Time to get a few pictures out of the way......
Brandon, Momma and I! 
The girls... ready to get this party started! 
The Spry's!
The DeVore's! 
 Momma and I!

We headed to find something to eat and drink before the show got started!
Nachos and a chocolate cupcake! Yum!
 (If you weren't in your seat while the show was going on you would have to wait until the next break... and we weren't gonna miss any part of this event!)  

This is one of my favorite pictures of us and a perfect reminder of an incredible trip!

A few highlights from this evening.....
Awesome performance by Garth Brooks! 

Loved "Girl Crush" by Little Big Town! 

It was great seeing Randy Travis at this event. I was tweeting (along with Shelly DeVore) and the really cool thing is that my tweet about Randy Travis was picked up by E! Online.... pretty awesome!

It was really cool to here them recognize Clear 99 (our local radio station) for Radio Station of the Year Small Market! Proud to be a Clear 99 listener and supporter! 

Unfortunately you just can't get good pictures with a cell phone and I know I keep saying this was an awesome trip but it was worth every moment! 

It's hard to believe it's over but what a really cool experience with some wonderful people! 
 We even helped break a Guinness World Record with the most people attended at a live awards show.... yep all 70,252 of us! 

Awesome night and a trip of a lifetime! 
Dallas, Texas... you were a blast...until next time!