On October 13th of this year, the Amy Alexander Foundation will hold it’s 16th annual golf outing. The Amy Alexander Foundation for Spinal Cord Injuries provides financial aid to myself and other people like me living with SCI.
Our first fund- raiser twenty years ago was a penny social. We raised about $1,000.00. Now, our annual golf outing is sold out each year and we have raised as much as $25,000.00 – $30,000.00 in a single outing. It doesn’t seem possible this year is our 16th.
I am always so proud to have my name on such a first class event. We always had a hole in one, with a brand-new vehicle as the prize. For our landmark tenth outing, we had two beautiful brand new Jeeps for a hole-in-one winner. We always have beautiful beer cart girls attending to our thirsty golfers throughout the day, a bars set up throughout the course, a photographer so golfers can purchase pictures at the end of the day, a fantastic raffle prize, awards given out for best foursomes and a fantastic dinner.
I feel one of the best amenities we’ve ever been able to give our golfers is the experience of hearing my nine year old niece sing at our landmark 10th outing. Every year, before the “shotgun start” at 11:00 a.m., we have a local talent sing the Star Spangled Banner. About a month prior to the outing, my niece Jamie asked if she could be the person to sing it for our tenth anniversary.
After auditioning for our board, consisting of five family members and friends, we unanimously agreed she would be our singer. Jamie and I spent a lot of time together on a regular basis and I had listened to her sing a thousand times, including the Star Spangled Banner. She had a beautiful, clear voice and it meant so much to me that she would be our event opener.
Nonetheless I, nor anyone else, was prepared for the performance she gave. My niece, microphone in hand, with the sun shining on her golden head, turning her into a mini modern angel, belted out the Star Spangled Banner like a pro. She was amazing…her voice was clear, sweet and strong, her pitch was perfect, and she hit the high notes as if they were nothing.
As she hung on the last note, the crowd burst into applause. It was impossible not to. When she put the microphone down and ran over to me to throw her arms around my neck, I couldn’t stop smiling. As the applause stopped, I leaned back to look at the beaming face of the little girl standing before me, and in that moment, a wave of tremendous excitement and hope washed over me.
Jamie embodied everything we, as individuals and as a country, are striving for and needing to be…confident in their abilities, courageous about their fears, excited and enthusiastic about the possibilities of what new experiences bring, open-minded regarding change, and kind, supportive and giving to their fellow man.
With everything challenging in our world today, I find myself wondering sometimes what will our future be? Who will lead us? I looked into the shining eyes of this little girl in front of me, full of passion for life and optimism. As I realized all throughout our world there were thousands of young people with the same look in their eyes, I knew what our future would be and who would be leading us.