Sean Deming: How we weave
When the late anchorman Walter Cronkite announced the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon in 1969, his initial reaction of wonder after the crew had safely landed was simply, “Boy!”
I uttered the same words when I picked up the Wednesday issue of Steamboat Today and saw the story about how Sue White had captured a downhill skiing gold medal at the Special Olympics in Austria.
A local athlete bringing home a medal from international competition is nothing new in Steamboat, but here is why she makes the achievement so unique; she did it all here. No big name corporate sponsorship contracts or off-season training on the other side of the globe. When she wasn’t skiing on the hill, Sue went to work at City Market, bagging our groceries and wrangling unruly shopping carts. She’s part of the local fabric, just like us.
What makes Sue’s accomplishment even more remarkable is who she is. Always offering a warm welcome to the customer who comes down the checkout lane, Sue is the person who has the courage to go out into the world, prove she’s the best and come home like the experience was just another great day, although maybe a bit more special than others.
Her example perpetuates the can-do attitude that makes our town so dynamic, and she has become an important thread that further tightens the weave of this community.
Yet when checking reader comments from the story online, I was a bit discouraged to see only five people had commented on her victory story. After consulting several friends, we think her achievement deserves more fanfare than a newspaper article and have come up with several suggestions on how Steamboat should recognize Sue’s accomplishment:
• Hold a parade in her honor. If this proves to be too much of a logistical hassle and expense, please consider naming her grand marshal for this year’s upcoming Fourth of July parade.
• As she is a medal-winning Olympian, we believe her name should be hanging on a banner from the rafters of Olympian Hall.
• Ask Sue if she would like to share her experience with the Steamboat community. Past Olympic winners have made the rounds to the local grade schools, allowing children to handle their awards, listen to words of inspiration and to stimulate dreams. If Sue is up to it, we’re confident there are hundreds of locals, both young and old, who would like to hear her story.
• The Today article mentions that Horizons case manager Meghan McNamara volunteered her time and paid her own way to escort Sue to the event. Residents here have a deep history of donating funds to worthy causes. Can we see, either through direct or indirect funding, community members offering to reimburse Ms. McNamara for her travel expenses?
Finally, thank you, Sue. Lately it seems there are fewer heroes out there. Political and professional sport circles aren’t offering many these days.
But it’s refreshing to know the next time I need a gallon of milk, I can look forward to seeing a real local hero at the end of the checkout counter, smiling at me and wishing me a good day.
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