Thursday, April 9, 2009

An inspirational messenger

You just never know whose path you’ll cross or what a person can teach you.
Take this past Saturday for example. Ken Pogson, who coaches Horizon Little League’s Astros Coach Pitch Team, sent me an e-mail when he heard that we would be selling concession at his game. The coach, it turns out, is an avid hiker and was fascinated by our Grand Canyon goal. He sent e-mails out to parents and asked them to support us.
And he also mentioned that he friend and expert mountaineer, Gabriel Amador, was visiting from California and would be attending the game. Ken said Gabriel would love to share his stories with us and sent me a few links.
It wasn’t until I began to click through the links that I understood the depth of Gabriel’s experience several years ago in New Zealand. On December 31, 2003, Gabriel was with groups of six hiking one of the country’s largest mountains, the 3,467-meter Mount Tasman, that were swept up in a killer avalanche. Gabriel and another man, Mark Dossor survived, but four climbers were killed. (A picture of Mount Tasman is above)
Gabriel suffered head, spine and neck injuries. He had to have both his hips replaced and was in critical condition and later rehabilitation for weeks. And now, just a few years later, here he was at a Scottsdale little league game as healthy as could be, recounting his experience.
Here’s the inspiring thing that I took away from Gabriel and his tragic story. He’s still hiking. In fact, he just hiked Mount Kilimanjaro and is planning at trip to Mount Everest Base Camp later this year. He also hiked Camelback and hit another trail in McDowell Mountain Regional Park before heading back to California.
He gave us some hiking tips and bought a Gatorade from our stand to support our fundraising efforts. He told us to keep in touch and send him the details on our hike so he can follow our progress. And through a simple conversation on the sidelines of a baseball game, he showed us what strength really looks like.
Gabriel’s story told us that no matter how hard something is, you must keep going. After all, he still is.
To read more about Gabriel’s story check out these links:

Four killed on avalanche mountain

Man critical after killer avalanche

Deadly silence that swept away four lives

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Amador is an inspiration not to mention a very lucky man...and lucky for you to have met before the big event!