The Year of Thank You

Letter #2: To the OPSF 50/50 Organizers & Volunteers

While I was running the brutal course yesterday, wondering why it was that I’d signed up for such a ridiculous race, I knew who I’d be thanking.

David and Sara, the couple who put this race on, and all the volunteers who set up, mark, and monitor the course are nothing short of amazing. They are all upbeat, happy, and encouraging along the way.

Unlike traditional marathons with thousands of volunteers and fanfare, ultra marathons take place in the middle of the woods and have few participants. The organizers and volunteers bust their collective humps to help a handful of crazies run up and down hills all day.

They deserve more than we could ever give them. This letter will go out in the mail on Monday, but I thought I’d post it now.

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Dear David + Sara:

I wanted to send you – and all the volunteers – a letter expressing my heartfelt thanks for putting on such a great event. This is my second year running (and first finishing) the OPSF 50/50. This year – as with last year – I found everyone I spoke with to be genuinely kind and helpful. That is no small feat considering how much work goes into setting one of these events up, and how long the volunteers are asked to sit outside while the rest of the crazies run up and down hills all day.

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Letter #1: To Our Dog Trainer

Rebecca, Maxx the dog, and I stopped into the Castleton PetSmart this morning to see our dog trainer. She’s been working with us for several months, and we’ve grown quite fond of her.

While we’re taking a break from training because of life, we wanted her to know that we’d still swing by to see her.

She’s also the first person we wanted to thank during The Year of Thank You so yesterday I dropped off a letter Rebecca and I wrote. After Maxx was checked into Doggie Day Camp, I tracked down the manager and talked with him for a few minutes about our experience with the trainer and told him that I hoped he’d share what we said to him.

We found out today that he shared it with the entire staff.

When we came into the store, employees continually came up to us and thanked us for writing that letter about her and about the staff. We continually were told: “Nobody ever says thank you.”

Their comments weren’t said derisively. Instead, there was a longing about it as if they were also reminded that they didn’t say thank you enough either. What was supposed to be a quick hello to our trainer turned into a 35-minute meet-and-greet with the staff.

It was a pretty good morning, and an amazing reminder about the power we have to create the world that we want. Just a few little words brightened the day of the people who have helped us with Maxx the dog.

Here is the letter we gave to the general manager (with the name of the innocent party removed). And don’t forget that I’d love to hear your stories as well.

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Hello:

My name is Brad King, and my fiancée Rebecca Hutton and I wanted to write a letter to let you know about our wonderful experiences with <our trainer>, who has been our dog’s trainer for the past several months.

Too often we let good deeds and good people get pushed aside in the swirl of the day-to-day activities of life. While understandable, we believe that a general lack of acknowledgement subtly reinforces the idea that positive interactions are no different than negative interactions.

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The 52 in 365 Challenge: The Year of Thank You

The 90-in-90 writing challenges I’ve posted have sometimes taken on a life on their own. Other times they’ve taken on my life. And other times still they have simply faded away.

Fortunately, I’m way more into process than product so the outcome of my personal missions is rarely the point.

For this challenge, though, the product is more important than the process. Let me explain:

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