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Making a Difference

| March 01, 2022

I started writing a book after I was invited to attend the Lowell, MA High School Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet in November of 2017. It would change my life forever. 

Little did I imagine, this was going to be the catalyst to initiate my mission of helping people, and eventually lead to a book being put to paper and authored by me. 

My brother-in-law was the beloved cross-country coach at Lowell high school and over his career had had many championships and awards. What we weren’t aware of, was the large number of students and athletes whose life’s he had touched. Phil Maia was and is a difference maker in the lives of all he taught and coached. After the announcement and being inducted, it was time for Phil to give his speech. I had never heard this story before, but as I listened, I knew it was Phil’s core and a central belief. I could feel his passion.

“Making a Difference”

An old man walking along the beach came upon a child sifting through debris left by the night's tide. Every so often he would pick up a starfish and toss it back to the sea.

The old man asked him the purpose of his efforts. “The tide has washed the starfish onto the beach. They will die unless I throw them back.”

The old man looked at the miles of beach. “There are more starfish than you can save. You cannot make a difference.”

The child bent to pick up another starfish and threw it back to the ocean. Then he looked at the old man smiled and replied, “I can make a difference to this one.”

As I sat in the audience listening to this, I finally understood what made my brother-in-law a member of the Lowell high school Athletic Hall of Fame. You see, he didn't count his achievements based on the number of track meets that he had won, but rather by the number of people that he had helped throughout his life. This was the “Aha” moment for me and became the central theme of my life going forward.

It's why at age 74, I'm still working and working as hard as I ever have, but now my focus is different. Each day, I'm looking for a starfish to save. As the story goes, I can't save everybody, but I can save “that one”.

 Do you know someone that we can help?