Champions of Inspiration
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Mckendree Speaks

Alex McMahon speaks to McKendree University students (2013)

Stephanie Katcher's insight:

Champion of Inspiration--Alex McMahon


McKendree football player Alex McMahon describes his cancer journey: How after being given a 9 month death sentence he refused to give in and how his determination to return to school and life empowered him to seek his own solutions. 


Through a collaboration of doctors around the world Alex has beat his death sentence, is back at school, still undergoing chemo and playing football. 


Lessons everyone should take away from this:

1) Simply because a problem has not been solved before does not mean it cannot be solved today.

2) Inspiration, determination, and the ability to enlist the help of others makes big things possible.

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Sightless players compete in beeping baseball tournament

Sightless players compete in beeping baseball tournament | Champions of Inspiration |
An international baseball tournament is happening this week in Columbus, but in this version of the game, none of the players can see the ball.
Stephanie Katcher's insight:

More than happy to see Columbus, GA hosting a beeping baseball tournament and reminding everyone to continue defying the limits placed upon oneself by circumstance and by others. (Click through to watch video from news cast #WTVM Channel 9.) 


#beeping #baseball #witness #inspiration #sportsmanship #itsonlypractice #try #succeed #defylimits

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Cherry Picked: Local veteran receives All-Star invite By Owen Hassell

Cherry Picked: Local veteran receives All-Star invite By Owen Hassell | Champions of Inspiration |

Corbin Cherry could be considered an overachiever, but a heroic one with a Forrest Gump-like Hollywood theme.


And he just keeps running.


From chief Army chaplain serving U.S. Presidents to low handicap golfer at multiple U.S. Senior Opens, the Hertford native and decorated Vietnam veteran has seen most of the world, including New York City.


Only this time, he’ll see the Big Apple alongside the New York Mets’ Citi Field, as Cherry is one of 30 team representatives that make up People magazine’s Tribute for Heroes and will receive on-field recognition at Tuesday’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game.


For someone who has done near everything without his own left leg — now using a prosthetic, the original was lost in an Vietnam firefight while saving fellow soldiers — he expects this experience to be unlike any other.

“I’m certainly humbled out of all the people that could go that I’m one of the fortunate ones that can go,” said Cherry, who will take his grandson and leave today for a five-day trip. “I think it’s fantastic that Major League Baseball has taken the effort to recognize our veterans.”


Cherry will represent the Oakland A’s, and was chosen through fan voting after the team nominated finalists for the trip.


The 75-year old moved to the Bay Area not long after his Vietnam service, and worked for 25 years as chaplain at the San Francisco Veterans Medical Center.


Now retired and back in his hometown, the owner of three Purple Hearts and the Silver Star among other honors remembered why he became an A’s fan, and then recalled a story many in Perquimans County understand today.


“I became an Oakland fan when I found out how (former owner) Charlie Finley signed Jimmy Hunter,” said Cherry of Hertford’s favorite son and MLB Hall of Famer. “The way he did it was very positive, and I instantly became an A’s fan, but then they were in Kansas City.


“When I reconnected with Jimmy, and he was in Oakland, I went to a ballgame, and he was standing outside the dugout, and I said, ‘Jimmy how are you?’ And he said, ‘I know you’re from Hertford, because you’re the only people that call me Jimmy.’ ”


At Albemarle Orthodics and Prosthetics earlier this week being fitted for a new leg (“I’ve been through more than 20,” Cherry adds), he calls the loss of his left leg a blessing in disguise.


An ordained Methodist minister, he has used his experience to help other military veterans, from Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. to San Francisco and even back in Vietnam, where he started the Vietnam Children’s Wheelchair Group to help ones wounded by landmines.

Since he started the organization in 2005, more than 1,000 wheelchairs have been furnished and more than 60 children have been sponsored for surgery to have artificial limbs.


“My destiny was the military, because I felt like it was the most rewarding ministry someone could have if your mental stability will hold out,” Cherry said. “Even with the injury I was blessed, because it turned on so many other things in my life that I would’ve never had before.”


He admitted the loss was much more of a concern on that fateful November 1969 day in the A Shau Valley of Vietnam, when he was being attack while trying to save others.


“The coreman and I went up to pick up the three guys who were wounded on a path about this wide (a few feet), we crawled up because they were firing,” Cherry said. “We brought two of them back, and he went to get the third one, and he got wounded. So I crawled up and pulled him back.

“When I crawled up to get the fourth guy, firing stopped, and I threw the guy on my shoulder, ran down the hill and stepped on a landmine that I had crawled over six times.


“It blew me down in the valley, and I looked down, and my leg was partially gone, and I was by myself. They got to me, and I was airlifted out and back to a field hospital.”


His first thought?


“How am I going to play golf on one leg?” Cherry said. “When I got to the helicopter, I asked a sergeant, ‘How will I play with one leg?’ He looked at me and said, ‘Chaplain, you’re crazy, but you’ll find a way.’ ”

He did, practicing while using crutches at Walter Reed, and then improving his game with the prosthetic and later playing in multiple top amateur tournaments.


Some of those more recent events have included the U.S. and British Senior Amateur — Cherry even had a locker alongside Arnold Palmer during the 1998 U.S. Senior Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

When he qualified for the 2005 U.S. Senior Open, he heard from the sergeant for the first time since the attack with a simple message: ‘I told you that you’d find a way.’


Still offering a sermon or two at Hertford United Methodist Church, the author of books describing the inner spirit of golf to deep poems detailing the Vietnam War, refuses to slow down even in retirement.

Just two years after leaving the chaplain post, he played golf on 165 of 166 days in 48 states to raise awareness to disabled veterans and ones in sports.


“And I’m still kicking,” Cherry said. “You don’t have a plan, you just decide this is what you want to do, and you do it. My business has always been my work, and I’ve always been a chaplain from the very beginning and that was the right move.”


He will be one of just three Vietnam veterans amongst the 30 on hand at Tuesday’s salute — one of them became a semi-pro golf teacher after losing both legs in Vietnam — but is always excited about the chance to thank others for their service, no matter the conflict.


“I talked to a young man at Naval Station Norfolk last year, and I said to him, ‘How long have you been in?’ and ‘I want to thank you for your service,’ ” Cherry said. “And he asked if I was in Vietnam, and I said yes, and he said, ‘They treat us good because they didn’t treat you well.’ ”

The treatment should be beyond Cherry’s dreams before Tuesday’s game pitting baseball’s best from the American and National leagues.


“I’ve addressed large crowds before, and I don’t know if I’ll do that, but it’ll be a feeling that I’ve never had before,” Cherry said. “I don’t know quite what to expect. It’ll be something I’ll always remember, and I know something my grandson will always remember.”



Stephanie Katcher's insight:

Corbin Cherry may not be a name you recognize, but that's because the man is far more about honoring life's opportunities to give back than to self promote. Despite where you reside, take a moment to read the feature on Mr. Cherry and then consider this, 'No matter where they are from are not all veterans local heroes?' After all they leave their home towns and families for fight for us all equally, should we not honor every one of them as our own? 

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Grant / Tragikly White / Miracle League of Arkansas (1 of 3)

Stephanie Katcher's insight:

The video may be a few years old, but who doesn't love to rock to a cover of "Pour Some Sugar on Me" featuring an amazing 11yro with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. Thank you to Rion Paige for sharing this Champion of Inspiration and Music!

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T-Shirt Entrepreneur Creates Jobs For Veterans - CBS Chicago

T-Shirt Entrepreneur Creates Jobs For Veterans - CBS Chicago | Champions of Inspiration |
The tiny T-shirt printing shop on the Near West Side is called Rags of Honor. It’s Mark Doyle's creative solution – financed by his savings account -- to hire unemployed vets.

Via Skip Boykin
Stephanie Katcher's insight:

As businesses move forward into incorporating social causes into their mission statements expect to see more and more of this. 

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Small world, smaller Corps: Texas Marines stay together for more than 60 years > Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow > News Article Display

Small world, smaller Corps: Texas Marines stay together for more than 60 years > Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow > News Article Display | Champions of Inspiration |
California’s High Desert has become home for countless veterans over the years. But what are the chances of three , (These 3 Marine veterans tackled boot camp together in 1947, and still remain the closest of friends.
Stephanie Katcher's insight:

There is some thing to be said for service and loyalty. There is more to be said about lifelong friendships and honor.

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