A few months ago, I saw this post from Pernille Ripp, and it immediately touched my heart for many reasons.
I am a huge hockey fan (Go Blackhawks!) so I know how passionate people can be for their teams, but that isn't why I felt so compelled to do something. My brother, a helicopter pilot, and my sister-in-law, formerly a chemical weapons specialist, served during the early years of the war in Iraq. This post took me back to those two years while they were away, and I remembered exactly how much we missed them, how much we wanted to make their time away more bearable, and how much we wanted to give them a homecoming they would never forget. I knew I had to do something to help Pernille have an amazing homecoming for her brother.
In the past "do something" probably would have meant writing a letter or trying to figure out exactly how to call somebody in Canada, but today things are a little bit different. A quick google search gave me an email address to contact the Maple Leafs, and I also found the Maple Leafs' twitter page and sent out some tweets. I wasn't the only one to do it, either, based on the tweets that I was seeing. And then I saw this pop up:
I felt pretty confident that something good would come from that so I waited patiently to hear what would happen. I was so excited for Pernille the day she tweeted that her brother was back on American soil - I remember that day for our family, too. I was actually celebrating Christmas with my brother, sister-in-law and parents 1,100 miles from home when Pernille posted about what happened so I didn't find out until this morning. You can check out Pernille's video to see the surprise!
While I already knew that I could learn amazing things from the people I've met online, today I saw exactly what people can do when they come together. Even though we may all be "strangers" being online is teaching me that we are all more connected than we ever realized, and we need to take care of one another.
My word for 2012 is grow. I grew today because, while I sometimes wonder about it, I can see that the voices of just a few CAN make a difference. I grew because it makes me want to continue helping people in many different ways. And most importantly I grew my appreciation for the amazing soldiers, like Paul, and their families who continue to sacrifice for our country and our freedom.