Happy Sunday y’all! Hope you had a great week and an even better weekend. It is my last night out here in Florida. Not sure I am ready to go back to the cold weather in CT, but definitely ready to build on some of the relationships and progress I made this week during my trip.
As mentioned in my last post, my friend Matt, and fellow board member at In A Heartbeat, and I had to drive 15 hours from NYC to Savannah, GA for a conference because both of our flights were cancelled. The conference was an amazing experience even with the lack of sleep. Parent Heart Watch is an organization that supports families that have either had a child survive a sudden cardiac arrest or families that have lost a child to sudden cardiac arrest. We got to meet so many inspiring families that are fighting for the same mission that In A Heartbeat fights for.
Following the conference on Sunday afternoon, we rented a car to drive to Stuart, FL to stay at Matt’s friend Becca’s apartment. It was another 6-hour drive but it was worth it as an exciting week was ahead. Becca couldn’t have been kinder allowing two guys to hang around and bother her while she was trying to get work done! We got in on Sunday and relaxed on Monday. Tuesday afternoon I had a speaking engagement at a school called Barnabus Christian Academy in Port St. Lucie, FL. The speech was for the athletes and a bunch of the other students at the school. Following the speech, we had a great meeting, with hopes to continue to expand the network of In A Heartbeat and the work we are doing!
Later that afternoon, we were able to borrow paddle boards. It was my first time out there on a paddle board and let’s just say….I struggled. I was much slower than Matt. He was out of sight for most of the trip. A boat even came up to me and asked if I wanted a tow. My pride wouldn’t let me do it. I was going to finish on my own….Looking back, the tow wouldn’t have been so bad!
The next day we donated our 30th AED to The Elliott Museum in Stuart. Although we have focused the majority of our work in CT at this point, we have also been able to make donations in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, Nevada, Washington, and now Florida. We will continue to focus our work within our local community with the hope to keep growing on a national level.
The afternoon activity on Wednesday was kayaking. I was nervous about this, again being my first time on a kayak, following my paddle board performance the day before. One thing I don’t mess around with is wildlife, especially alligators in Florida. As were hopping in the kayaks, the guy helping us was giving us instruction. He said to not bother the wild life including fish, manatees, deer, and ALLIGATORS. I think my stomach just dropped. We were out there for a couple hours and the whole time I am waiting for an alligator to just jump out at me. We did see a baby one….I knew that if we saw a baby, momma was around somewhere. I got out of there quickly to say the least.
Thursday, we were lucky enough to get invited out on a fishing trip. I had gone out on a fishing boat before, but it was nothing like this trip. The guys we went with were professionals and wanted to go tile fishing. Tile fish swim on the bottom of the ocean and you need to get 700-foot depths to catch them. It was not an ideal day to be out on a boat by any means. It was freezing cold, windy, and the water was ROUGH. As we were speeding out, I start feeling funny. Being a trip with 6 guys, I was not going to say a word about not feeling good. The owner of the boat turned to me and said, “Mike, you ok?” Of course, I replied by saying, “Yes, I’m good.” He looked at me and said, “Really, because you look white.” That was the beginning of a long day. I was sweating so I went out to stand in the cold and let the water hit me which felt great…until I laid down back inside and was freezing cold and wet. I ended up getting sick and basically laying down for the last 3 hours of the trip! Definitely not my best performance. The professionals even said it was a rough day to be out there, which made me feel a little better
The weekend ended with a wedding that I was invited to at the last minute. The family, a close friend of Matt’s, could not have been more welcoming. We had a great night and great weekend with them.
I always try to wrap up these posts with something the reader can take away so it isn’t all about me and my experiences. This week made me think how important it is to try new things. We are all born in a specific location and we don’t always get out to different areas and try things that we can’t do where we are. Although I struggled at paddle boarding and struggled on the boat, I couldn’t have asked for a better week, and I can’t wait to try them again. We have to allow ourselves to try new things and do things we aren’t necessarily comfortable with. After all, you never know, you may fall in love with them….
Have a great week everyone.