December 29, 2015

A Truly Humble Experience on Gear Up Florida

Written by Zackery Cockerham

Today was truly a humbling experience. During breakfast and our first Friendship Visit today with the Easter Seals, we were honored to meet some truly amazing individuals who have lived extraordinary lives.

The event was with mostly elderly individuals, and speaking with them really helped put a lot of things in perspective for the team. I talked with Bob, who has been going to the Easter Seals for many years now, for almost two hours. He told me stories of his time in the military, his service in the Vietnam War, his sibling and his children, and many of the places he visited during his youth. We bonded over a variety of subjects: music, military history, the love of travel and adventure. He kept telling me his life motto “always be kind to others, and if they don’t return your kindness just walk away. Go back to them another time.”

After we left the Easter Seals the Gear Up Florida team went to the Russell Home, which was truly an amazing experience. I had never seen a facility anything like that before. Instead of an actual medical or state run facility, it was literally a house where a family cared for individuals with disabilities. The people they served where as happy as they could be, and the atmosphere throughout the house was one of kindness and love. I was nearly in tears by the time I left the Russell Home, absolutely blown away by the work they were accomplishing there. When we arrived back at the hotel, I was stunned when I was awarded the rock, an important symbol for the men on this trip. It was truly an honor to learn how highly my peers think of me, and that my presence here on the trip has made a lasting impact with each and everyone of them.

Today was truly an amazing experience, from discussing military history with Bob to touring the Russell Home. My experiences today taught me a lot about humility and love, and it helped me put a lot of things in my life into perspective. I am truly honored to be here with my fellow brothers, and I am proud to be a Pi Kappa Phi.


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