By Bob Gregory On June 26, 1995… My 39th birthday!… I had just finished a discussion with The Department of Justice on a small chemical company acquisition. As a Director of Marketing for a small division of Baxter International, it was one of the interesting parts of my job that I loved. However, I knew as I left the meeting that my multiple sclerosis symptoms had caught up to me and my lifestyle was going to change. I shuffled out to the car garage with assistance. I haven't been back to traditional work since then. So how do I go from a brand-new Dad, living in big 'ole house with a big 'ole mortgage, marathon runner & and corporate climber that I was really good at to somebody sitting in a wheelchair with no idea what was next, loss of identity and diminishment of self-esteem. Well, I was still a brand-new Dad. Months later I was sitting on my back porch with no good answers. I answered the phone and it was The Director of Religious Education at church. She said she needed me to be one of the volunteer parents and be a Sunday school teacher. However, not for the first-graders that our daughter was a part of, but for the teenagers. I have not been a very religious person and in a good month I might get to church once. But Gaia said that the teaching materials are all put together and there's always two teachers assigned to each class. I loved it! These kids were smart, inquisitive & funny. I met an awful lot of people in those years; parents, younger brothers and sisters, friends. I was once again getting great satisfaction and fulfillment of life's purpose. So with this seemingly small gesture on Gaia's part, my confidence grew which led to being asked to be Chairman of Communications and eventually Co-president of the church board. Well, why stop there? I was then asked to be part of our town's youth sports organization. Next thing I know I was Director of Softball, Director of Soccer, Registrar, Webmaster & Field Scheduler Then I was The Treasurer of our town’s Community Association and eventually became The President of the organization. And then joined the board of the local high school’s community foundation. Pat and I were recipients of the 2014 Citizens of the Year Award. There was no salary or stock options involved with this (I'm lucky to be married to Pat who works tirelessly so I could do all these things) however, the people I have met, including public works, police, fire, parents, kids, have given me a priceless identity... A valued member of this community. There are many paths to success. There were rough days, frustrations & physical setbacks. However, no matter what comes my way. I know I can reinvent myself again to find purpose… And have numerous times.
Updated: Apr 10, 2020