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April 2022. – A note to our Help America Hear Famiily

A note to our Help America Hear Family members,

I come to you awe-inspired this evening, in the most humble fashion with a story of reflection about my son and how he makes me a better, more confident and stronger person.  

Over the last month my son said he’s going to try out for the Berner Middle School baseball team.  He said from day one that he doesn’t think he can make it, but he’s “gonna go for it because what do I have to lose.”  He told me that he didn’t think he had a chance, there’s kids much better than him that play travel ball but he’s going to just do his best and if he doesn’t make it, well that’s okay… at least he tried.  Danielle and I both discussed it, not sure whether he should try out but inevitably we absolutely support him.  He truly loves the game, the play, the stats, the history, the sound of the ballpark.  He’s been in tryouts all week and asked to go to the park and practice every other day.  He’s never been one of the best on the team but he definitely gives his all, in practice, on the bench and during every game.  He did this with boys volleyball too, and didn’t make the team but did his undoubtedly best in multiple days of tryouts, but didn’t make the cut and yet remained positive and moved on to new things.  Rejection and fear thereof makes so many of us shy away from “going for it” and unfortunately we can’t succeed in what we don’t attempt.

As a note of inspiring success, John swam the 50 meter freestyle last weekend for his St. Rose swim team, he was in lane 2 close to the starter, was in fourth going into the turn and somehow finished strong to win his first race of the season.  The kicker was, he can’t wear hearing aids near the pool so they stay in the locker room the whole meet.  As he finished and came into the wall, he humbly got out of the pool and walked around to the bleachers and sat with his team, doing his best to communicate with his teammates and say good job to the two other boys in the race.  When we finally regrouped after the race was over and walked out to the car I asked John did he “know what happened in the freestyle race?”  He said “what do you mean Dad?”  I said “Johnny… you came back from 4th to first in like half a lap… you won.”  He didn’t believe me until I showed him the video.  Lack of hearing while swimming pains us as parents on the sidelines, but it also reminds us constantly of what it must be like for so many of those in need of hearing aids.

So tonight, whether John makes the team or not, the takeaway I have is that he’s okay with rejection and knows enough about what’s important in life to keep on being himself. President of the 7th Grade, little inspiring mascot/figurehead of this amazing organization HELP AMERICA HEAR, big brother, hero to his parents, and a success story of persistence at such a young age, whether he knows it now or not.

That brings me to where we’re at as an organization with Help America Hear.  We have a team that’s grown, we have an amazing group of founders and supporters as well as a newly formed committee with fresh ideas and passion.  There’s upwards of 150 people just like John whose live’s get changed annually by our organization.  Over 1,500 Americans have gotten the gift of hearing from us, our family.  As we get set for our evening at Top Golf next Tuesday I hope we all can draw a little strength from what my son John brings to the organization.  He could’ve given up so many times, but he sees you all showing up to help people in need and knows he’s a part of it.  John’s life is enriched because he’s gotten to know you Mitch, you David Carr, you David Gustin, you Michael LoFrumento, you John Michael, and all of you, who are helping people like him that need to hear the world around them, because without hearing… life fades away into silence and the feeling of being alone.

Thanks to our honoree, Michael LoFrumento, for introducing my family to this family at Help America Hear.  Thank you to each of you for bringing value to our team, you’re all special and part of our family now.  Let’s do like John does and look fear and rejection in the face and try it anyway because… “what do I have to lose.”  Let’s ask for support from potential sponsors because we deserve it, we know where the money goes, we know who the money helps and we know damn well that we make a difference in people’s lives. 

Let’s give these next few weeks a solid push at bringing sponsors into our family to support the John Thomas Golf Classic for Help America Hear.  I appreciate you all and thank you for always doing your best.

Best regards,

Gregg T.