As some of you may have noticed on the front page of our website there is a link to register for our Fifth Annual Event. Everyone including family and friends is invited and please sign up as quick as you can because our tickets will sell out.. I look forward to seeing all of you there it’s going to be a great night. Don’t forget it is country theme, so bring your boots and get ready for some line dancing.. be perfect
In an attempt to be much less boring to people and much less redundant one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2013 is to be much less long-winded and more to the point with the things that I’m trying to get across. I am going to try and do that now as I recap and reminisce upon what a great year 2012 was and what great things we have in store for 2013 both personally, as a family and namely as a foundation with helping more people. 2012 was an unbelievable year for not just my family and myself but for the foundation as well. The foundation has and is continuing to receive the national recognition that it deserves as we are continuing to get on a national scale with trying to find donors to see the foundation is a fit of where their dollars are wanting to go to help other people. At the conclusion of 2011, we ended it with a bang with our Fourth Annual event where we raised $425,000 to help other people in the years to come. As many of you know those dollars only go so far, and what the rearranging of when our Fifth Annual event would be, some 18 months later we certainly as a foundation had to be accountable to our donors and make the money stretch out for those 18 months to get us through till the next event. With the Fifth Annual event approaching rapidly here on May 11, 2013 the foundation and its committee members are excited for what we think will be another great night, where we all break out our boots and enjoy a country themed and inspiring night again at the Hafif Estate. The committee and the foundation is working hard in preparation for the upcoming event to make it at night that we will all never forget and to try and top our last event which is becoming hard to do year-to-year. We have a lot of great ideas and hope to blow the boots off your feet with an inspiring night where we will try and change other people’s lives once again. 2012 marks the culmination of the five year mark since my accident. It simply astounding and amazing for me to think about not just how far I’ve come in those five years, but surely the row that I have traveled, the people I’ve met, the lives that have been changed and most importantly all the people that the foundation has been able to help in those five years. As I look ahead to 2013 and the next five years I can’t help but think how big the foundation will become and the amount people that we will be of the help here in the near future. A lot of my dreams have become a reality in 2012 was no different as I was able to be blessed with many of those dreams to come true. Some of you might’ve heard by now that the foundation and my family is proud to present and announce that another dreams is coming true that we have tried to make happen for quite some time. Some of you may remember back at the Third Annual event when my family presented a donation in order to start a new facility to expand upon the one that we have at the Claremont Club and help more people. The truth of the matter is we are outgrowing our facility at the club and were looking for different avenues to expand upon our existing facility and make it a place where more spinal cord injuries can come and really get a bang for their buck as we expand upon our level of training as well. Project Walk has been a rehab facility that I have been attending for the past five years down in Carlsbad. They have done many great things for me as far as my recovery goes in getting back on my 2 feet again and I have seen so many miracles happen for many different people over the course the past five years in that facility. My dream has been wanting to bring that modality of training up to the Inland Empire and service people with spinal cord injuries up in this area under the same curriculum. My family is proud to announce that the Claremont Club will be the site of the first ever Project Walk Franchise and will be named Project Walk Claremont. This facility is set to open here in a few weeks in the first part of February. Our new facility and its renovations are almost complete as we will be operating under a room that is more than five times the size of what we have right now. We feel as if this will truly be able to help and extend our modality of training, level of training, creativity and our dynamic ability to help others with spinal cord injuries above and beyond what we are already doing at the club. We will have in our facility one of just a few gait training devices and treadmills in the United States. This type of modality could be the difference of somebody walking and a walker to walking unassisted for the rest their life, or even somebody who’s in a chair and has a little bit of movement in their legs to getting up out of their chair and walking. The sky’s the limit and we know what this new facility we will have the opportunity to make people’s dreams a reality. There will be more announcements in the weeks to come with the grand opening coming soon. The operational part of the gym will begin in early February, where we will occupy the facility and be working day-to-day out of it. On May 18, 2013 we will have our grand opening that will be open to the public and all of you to come check out the new facility and a lot of the great things that we are doing to help others. There are so many great things to come in 2013 and as a foundation we are really trying to extend our services and ensure that we will be around forever. In an attempt to do so I have dreams of being able to set up an endowment fund where we can set up an account that ensures that this foundation will be around forever. I hope that this year will bring us a step closer to doing so and I can’t begin to tell you how much all of your support affects what I do on a day-to-day basis and how it keeps me going and gets me up out of bed. You all mean the world to me and I mean that from the bottom of my heart without you guys this all isn’t possible. Please keep checking back for more updates and until then I hope you all have a great 2013 and please continue to spread the word about The Be Perfect Foundation as we try to get this nationwide and remind people of all the great things they can do to help others. I love you guys… Be perfect
July 26, 2012….I woke up today with a rash of emotions, from both the high and low end of the spectrum… Recounting the events from the past five years and namely the past week… my week started with some very unfortunate news much of which has gotten me where I am today and has shaped who I become over the past five years. On Saturday, July 21, 2012 before 8:30 in the morning, my trainer at the Claremont club for the past five years , Lee Russo was found collapsed on the side of a walking trail in North LaVerne by two pedestrians. Unfortunately, my trainer Lee was pronounced dead at the scene. I’ve had five days to recall this and take it all in and it still hasn’t quite hit home yet of truly how important, how special, how meaningful and how vital Lee is to my life and my recovery. However, I did have a chance to reminisce over the past five years and how he has gotten me where I am today. If I were to tell all of you that Lee was 69 years old none of you would probably believe me. He was the most in shape and fit 69-year-old I’ve ever seen. Lee taught me a lot about self-discipline, hard work, self-control and willpower. And how harnessing all that, and focusing your energy towards a goal with the help of a trainer like Lee, anything is possible with a strong mental outlook. He was a model citizen, with a positive attitude a great outlook and a smile that reflected upon everybody around. He brought an energy to the Claremont club not just to the trainers but to the members as well, as he lighted up the atmosphere and always made you feel right at home. His warm personality created for a very gentle and caring man, as he cared so much to be the liaison for the Claremont club with the community of Claremont. He was very active in the community as well as his church in which he called home. If there were more people like Lee in this world there’s no question this world would be a better place with much less tension and more caring individuals everywhere. Lee is somebody that I look up to and I will always have a certain drive and motivation to get back up on my feet now more than ever on account of that being a goal for both Lee and I in my recovery. I will never forget him, as he was simply perfect in his own right and he will definitely have a legacy that lives on not just that the club but throughout the city and neighborhood to. As that weighed on my mind this morning as I woke up I realized I had to find a reason to wake up and have the motivation to go out and work hard for Lee. And motivation came quite easily as I woke up this morning to immense amount of text messages, and voicemails and comments on twitter that I simply realize I had nothing to be down about, nothing to be upset for and simply a feeling of all the hope and the world given back to me through the support structure that I have within me. You see today is my birthday. July 26. And for those of you that know me know that that truly isn’t my birthday you would all say “no Hal it’s August 14”. I would certainly agree with you in the sense that that is my literal birthday. However, now there is a new day in my life that is far more important to me. July 26, 2007 was the day I was officially born, again. Yes, I am five years old and counting. This was the day that life stood still and a new perception and attitude towards it was formed. In some sense, I was remade as a baby all over again. I had my legs taken from me, I’ve had to relearn how to walk, and had to relearn how to take care of myself, I’ve had to relearn how to feed myself, I’ve had to relearn how to be independent, and yes I’ve had to relearn how to poop and pee to be quite honest. And as gross and disgusting as this sounds, all of this is now a reality to me. And never once has it become a reason or source of something to get me down or make me sad, is simply used as a driving force and motivation to get back to where I was prior to July 26, 2007. But I’ve come to realize since those five years ago that most of those physical things in life don’t necessarily matter to me as much, believe it or not. Do I still have the urge and the drive to go out and be a kid again and go out and do physical activities, and wakeboard again, and play baseball again? Absolutely! But I’ve also come to realize that the mental and emotional aspects of life are far more important than anything else. And I found a whole new love a new passion for life that I never had before. I’ve found that are starting my foundation and helping other heal. Through starting the foundation and seeing others heal and helping them heal is more therapeutic than anything else to me in life. I’m not just talking about the SCI patients either, I’m talking about devoting my life to helping others around me. This is far more important than anything that has to do with me personally as far as I’m concerned. I myself as I’m sure many other people can accuse themselves of being too selfish at certain points in time, whether or not they’re willing to admit it to other people but mark me down as one of those people that is willing to admit. I’m not afraid to say it but yes, prior to my accident I probably live my life much too selfishly in light of doing what was in my best interest and not in the interest of other people and that was completely wrong. My purpose, is to be there for other people not want other people to be there for me, that should just come without any questions asked what the people I’ve surrounded myself with, not in any cocky or stuck up way am I saying that either. I am saying that because you have all lived up to expectations of who I truly thought you were. You all have been there by my side for the past five years and have never left and I truly love every one of you for that from the bottom of my heart. Each and every one of you that I call my friends, have never failed me and have completely gone above and beyond the call of duty to express your true light of who you all are and that’s great people. I could sit here time and time again and say that I myself, is the one to think all this because I chose all of you to be my friends, yet that again would simply be wrong. You, all chose me to be a part of your life so I should be thanking each and every one of you for answering the same question I have for all of you in a positive way, “ are you a good person” and I can tell you for each and every one of you, I would say yes. You that all know me have heard me say the motto at some point or another, “worry more about your character than your reputation, your character is to you are and your reputation is merely what others think of you”. This would in fact indicate that each and every one of you should care less if I or anyone else has the perception of you that you are a good or a bad person, that judgment and decision should be made in the nature of just who you are as a person. My point is is that many of you are just who you are, and that my eyes is a great person and is somebody that I’m proud to call a friend and a supporter of mine and the foundation. So some of you might ask what have you learned in the past five years. I wouldn’t know where to begin to be quite honest… I could start by saying patience, or that walking isn’t everything in life, that the most important thing in life is your friends and family, that I’ve learned how to be an optimist and always be positive, that the road I’ve traveled down with something that I never expected that I would but is a blessing in disguise, but I would probably say more than anything else that this all happened for a reason.. That this was meant to be and for one simple reason that I can assure you that this is a true statement.. And that is because I have all of the people that I have surrounding me in supporting me. Each and every one of you reiterate me every morning why I get up and do what I do and that this is all worth it to me, walking or not if this is what life has in store for me but I’m perfectly okay with it simply because the people I’ve met, the stories that I’ve heard, the friendships that I’ve gained, the friendships that I’ve maintained and the future that I have ahead of me. Did I expecting to be walking now my five year anniversary? Early on in my recovery yes I would’ve told you no doubt, do I have any doubt now? No absolutely not, it just may take a little longer than unexpected. Was this because I wasn’t applying myself for trying hard enough? Most definitely not, I can name 1000 reasons right now why I would never give up on each and every one of you. I guess my body is just at the point where it’s just not ready to get up and do its thing yet. And that’s perfectly okay with me because I’ve realized something new about life. That it’s not about how fast you get there, it’s about how slow methodical you can get there while choosing the best route, the best path to go down, the bumpy as road that tests your adversity, a wild adventure, unexpected run-ins, eventful moments that take your breath away, all with the understanding that everything is going to be okay and that I will reach my goal someday with the help of all of you. Time is of the essence.. My no rush to walk tomorrow as long as I continue to understand and learn new things along the way but most importantly never take a single moment for granted ever again for the people I have around me, my physical state, my mental and emotional outlook, and that I have the greatest gift of all.. The gift of life itself. But I want to take the time to thank you all for something that you didn’t know you help me learn and that is to pay attention to the little details in life because those are what mean the most… To cherish little victories and little accomplishments along my road to recovery. Because people automatically assume as an outsider looking in that it’s either walking or nothing… Which isn’t true.. I continued to defy odds every day of what people and doctors told me I would never do again. It’s the little things now that are more important than ever. My second round of “1st time doing something” all over again. If the little victories such as learning to feed myself again, learning to push my wheelchair and become independent again, learning to have a great mental outlook on life again, learning to be positive, learning to cope with this injury, and yes trying to put 1 foot in front of the other every day and trying to take the biggest step of my life while I try to get back to walking again someday. You may notice that I in fact didn’t say everything had to be physical to be a 1st for doing something all over again.. Because that is not what is important to me anymore.. Changing somebody’s life in a positive way is all that I am worried about now.. And I’ve come to find out that I can still be Hal without walking.. And that was the greatest discovery in the entire world.. I have learned one last thing, and that is the difference between having a good and bad memory, because having a good memory is carried with the people who pay attention to the little details of life. And I certainly pride myself on that more than ever right. Where will I be five years from now? I’m not even going to try and tell you that I have an idea.. But I can tell you two things that I know for sure will still be here five years from now.. All of you and the foundation! Thank you all so much for the support! I love you all and never forget to BE PERFECT!
R.I.P. LEE RUSSO
LEE AT THE 1ST ANNUAL EVENT
Go to ten57mag.com
To read the article I did on you!!!!
It’s funny how things work in life… My friend Stephanie, who is a very active member in the SCI community with promoting positive awareness and views on life in a chair to all people, had contacted me via text message yesterday with wanting help answering a few questions from a mans perspective in a wheelchair to help her out with her blog. I found the questions quite interesting and very thought provoking as I hadn’t given much thought to dating after SCI, I just figured if it happened then it happened..in the spirit of my last blog post and the Recency of this loving time of year I thought some of you may find the thoughts and perspective, directly from someone living with SCI, on dating that it may enlighten you. My responses I’m sure are different from gender to gender living with SCI and even person to person but I guess the moral of it all is self sacrifice, and a willingness to risk your heart and to give up things without expecting something in return, which would go for any type of relationship.. Here’s our Convo
Steph: Hey Halgrave! You up?! )
Steph: Awesomeness! ) haha mind if I ask a few serious questions?? You dont have to answer them all if you dont want to but I need a mans perspective for this next blog… I’ve asked a few others but no one has responded yet :/ lol wanna help?!
Hal: Of course
Steph: Ps. I read your vday blog! your great at writing! I read it to my mom too! We both enjoyed it! Thank you… Before I ask my questions I wanna thank you for whatever questions you do feel comfortable answering. ) I appreciate your help!
1) Has your feelings about dating changed from before your wheels to now? How so? 2) Do you think its more difficult for a male or female to date while in a chair? 3) Would you have dated s
omeone in a chair before? Would you date someone on wheels while you are? 4) How would you feel if someone refused to date you because of your chair? 5) What do
you believe is most rewarding about dating someone on wheels?
Hal: Okie I can answer those!
Steph: Yay! Thank you! <3
Hal: Do you want it In a text or email ?!
Hal: 1. I definitely would say my feelings about dating has changed not in necessarily more of a negative or positive way but definitely a greater sense of appreciation that is willing to put in the effort that I am to make it work! I realize relationships take effort but now it's a different type of effort it's more of an understanding and respect amongst both individuals to know that both can't offer what they normally could physically but the heart soul and passion of both can make up for any lacks for any physical lacking
Steph: Whichever is easiest for you! ) Thank you so very much!! Heres my email just in case: Stephanieannaiello@gmail.com
Hal: 2. My opinion personally not cause I am one or biased but I believe it's tougher as a boy in a relationship … Boys most of the time feel a large sense of pride in being able to take care of the woman they love! By meeting some physical demands, but namely just the proper standard and expect ediquet of taking care of a woman like opening doors for them, pulling out chairs for them, driving them home, walking them out to their car, tucking them in bed , they being the ones driving them places, taking the girl they love out on dates not thee other way around …. All things that break my heart at the end of the day that I'm not able to do to take care of the girl I care about most. I try to make up for those things with my heart and respect. If the situation is flipped and the girl is in the chair not to say this is a stereo type or how everyone feels but I feel that if the girl were the one in the chair the boy taking care of her would feel a huge sense of pride to be that guy that can take care of her and even meet all the physical "standards" of taking care of a girl and even by doing transfers that a woman may not be able to do allowing a relationship to be more versatile and independent… There's also a stigma about being a father and raising your young kids through sports by being their coach and doing those physical activities with them.. Not to say a mom couldn't either just my opinions..
Steph: Exactly what I was thinking! I feel its harder for men too but I didn't wanna be the first to admit it! Thank you! us girls have it so way when it comes to dating and theres nothing wrong with the female doing those things its just not what we are taught growing up through movies and the father son talks… I can't wait! Your gonna help me make this blog amazing! <3 thank you!
Hal: 3.honestly I don't know I'd like to think I wasn't shallow enough to at least consider the thought of it… I just don't think I ever took the time before to ever understand someone's true beauty beyond a chair .. I know selfish … But I also was never exposed to it. I think I would At least give it a thought or consider it but the basic reality is it would be very tough to maintain a balanced emotional , physical , intimate relationship with both in a chair but anything is possible after overcoming what we've all dealt with.. Having said all that I really respect, admire and tip my cap to all those individuals who have taken the leap and sacrificed things to make those in a chair by either sticking by their side before , after and through this tough injury as a girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse or fiancé or husband and wife, those who newly met someone after they were in their chair and saw through their chair to see their true beauty, and even those who maybe who knew and were friends with the individual for a long time and still saw that person for themselves after the accident and fell in love for that person.. I understand these situations all take extreme courage by both individuals but I promise you the cost also comes with a huge reward.. I highly respect and admire all of you for your perseverance as both individuals trying to date after SCI .
Hal: 4. I would be understanding of it no question cause I get girls need certain things that I can't necessarily give or offer to them… Id also feel degraded and helpless but also motivated to prove to another girl out there that there's other things that I have to offer that other men don't and that I can make up in other areas for those things thAt I lack with with other aspects and facets of life that may be even more meaningful in a relationship. I'd hope they could see beyond my chAir and see me for me still.
Steph: Thank you so much! Your answers are so helpful! <3 So great to hear from a mans perspective. I hope you dont mind… Can I quote you??
Hal: 5. I think dating someone on wheels is love , respect, caring , unselfishness, non shallowness, lower expectations knowing you'll get gains in other things, all of this at its purest form… Dating someone in a chair is both people seeing through Boths flaws and imperfections and seeing eachother perfectly and knowing than that person inside and their heart, love , personality , passion , determination , willingness, respect, emotional capability, mental compacity is far greater than any physical capability and who that person is visually .. None of those things matter… And if you can find two willing individuals regardless of which one is in the chair than this is the strongest most powerful love you'll ever find … It's truly unlike any other experience and I wouldn't change it for the world cause I know If I can overcome this than I can do anything I set my mind too.
End of Convo
Now that you all had a brief experience of what it may be like to date before, during and after SCI what do you think ? Are you grateful for your situation? Or not? Do you maybe all understand it a little more? This isn't to make anyone feel sorry for me or anyone living with SCI, it was just merely meant to put it all into perspective of what may go through some of our heads in regards to dating. This isn't to say my opinions are the only correct or meaningful ones because I'm sure woman would also tell you else wise of raising and mothering their children which I also entirely respect and agree with… The fact of the matter is is that this injury and dating situation stinks, is unfortunate and alot of the times extremely unfair.. But those couples and individuals who can somehow manage to make it work have done something unbelievable and unheard of after SCI, almost every statistic and common knowledge has shown this injury tears couples apart, but never give up! So if you've ever considered it hopefully this blog puts you over the top and changes your perspective forever and just know that your counterpart who Is in the chair believe it or not makes sacrifices and would trade positions with you in a heartbeat just to thank you for all you've done for them and to be the one that "takes care of you"! There isn't a day that guy that I wish I could be someone I'm not physically to take care of a love one the way I want again. But at the same time I would never change who I am because I'm prideful of myself with knowing I have something to offer that no other man doesn't and that's a heart that's forgiving, full of passion, full of desire, full of respect, full of willingness, full of sacrifice, full of pride, full of courage, full of will, full of perseverance, but most importantly full of love… Now I want all of you to know how much I admire and respect all of you who have ever considered, have tried, have worked, or even had a situation that hasn't worked and dating someone with SCI or even a relationship that's able body.. Any type of relationship is extremely tough all that you have is two individuals who are reciprocally willing to sacrifice certain things and I promise you if you can find that in someone else with you than you two have a shot at making it work.. We all need to be loved by someone… I love you all… CAN YOU LOVE?! Be Perfect
Do you ever have those mornings when you wake up and it all just kind of hits you? Of what’s important in life’s.. A perception of how life is supposed to be and meant to be… The things that you value and care about most… The things that hold meaning with you… The things that you miss yet an understanding of the things that you have now and how those things have filled the void of the things that are no longer.. Not necessarily a void that you are imposing on purpose to try and cover up old feelings just merely something that has naturally happened in life that you find the same if not more happiness through it than those things you once had before.. I feel like that was today for me… I don’t know what it was.. Whether it was a feeling of gratefulness, happiness, fulfillment or just a sense of appreciation and pride for the things and people that I’ve surrounded myself with that define who I am. When I woke up this morning like I do every morning, I stared at the mural on my wall. A mural that truly defines who I am, where I’ve been, where I’ve come from, how far I’ve come, my passions in life, my previous dreams and goals, the standards that I set, the values that I held, and today a driving force that gets me up and out of bed every morning. Wake boarding was something that I loved. A sport, a passion, a hobby and to me a way of life that was unlike any other. It was my escape from everything in life, nothing else mattered, no worries in the world and no one else to blame but me. I had dreams, dreams to land my first backflip on a wakeboard and turn professional someday. Half of this dream came true, but not all of it. Yet that is not what I defined my life as. A failure, something left unsaid, something incomplete, something I did not achieve.. Because life went on, things got better and I achieved other things in life that I never thought that I would. This mural of me landing a backflip that lays above my head every night is never a downer. I know everybody approaches things differently and I am no different. When people lose things in life they tend to be depressed, they shut down mentally and emotionally and at times want to give up. I couldn’t be more the opposite of that for anything that I’ve lost in life. I’ve come to find out and even most importantly to understand that the things that we lose in life were intended to happen, which is the hardest thing of all to grasp your hands around and truly understand and make sense of. It’s not always so clear at first as to why things happen which is living with the free and open line to understanding that these things have a greater purpose behind them and a bigger meaning helps the transition stage of getting back to who you are once again. When I lose and have lost things in life I use it as a sense of motivation, as a sense of getting back to who I was when I had those things in my life by replacing it with other things that hold stronger and equal value to me. Not being able away port at this point in time doesn’t get me down it’s merely a motivating factor for me to defy all the odds and getting back up on my feet again and riding on board. I know if I live my life with an attitude that is depressed and sad I will have no shot at being that person never again. But to be honest if I never become that person physically again, I may actually be okay with it, not because I don’t want to be, but because of so many great things that have happened and continue to happen in my life since I lost everything. The life and the people that have now I would not change the world because it is something that I love. In the spirit of the holiday season, during this loving time of year, and Valentine’s Day coming up I think all of us spend the time to sit around and think about the things and people that we do love and care about. And for most of us we don’t fear loving somebody or having things love, but merely we fear not being loved by others. Now I know Valentine’s Day might seem silly to a lot of people and most girls may even give you the standard answer that guys should show their love for the ones they love no matter what day of the year’s. This I do tend to agree with in most respects. However, I tend a think of the little differently myself. I more or less use this time a year and this particular day to identify those things that I truly love and care about and most importantly showing my expression of care to those things and individuals. I know many people would tell you that “love, to love, and to be loved” is an extremely strong word and expression that should not just be thrown around for no reason at all, and like many of you that know me my different opinion on things stays true for this topic as well. I know love can be defined as an intense feeling of deep affection towards someone or something, which most people would see as the type of love that only exist amongst two people. However, I do find love a little differently. I see “love” as a great interest or pleasure in something. This definition of love I put to practice my life, while it makes me a more open person to accept and love into my life at any magnitude or any form. To me this isn’t necessarily to say that I don’t throw the term love around cautiously enough, I guess that I’m just a much more open person to letting the people and the things around me now how much they are truly cared about. I feel as if that has benefited me tremendously as I have surrounded myself with many great things and many great people. I love these people. I like to think I’m a pretty attentive person, my awareness of things around me, hints and clues that are thrown at me, and opportunities that are put in front of me that I should bite it on and take. At this point my life I don’t see it any differently, so I like to think every decision I’ve ever made was the right one. It wasn’t always the right outcome or even a positive thing, about the end of the day I can live my life without regrets because where I’m at right now, the things that I’ve accomplished, the direction I’m going, the person I am, the values that I hold, the attitude I maintained, the perception of my life and the world around me, the life that I live, the people that are part of it, and the things that I hold most dearly in life are all things that I would never change for the life of me. So I can only begin to think that my life is perfect and that every decision I made was the right one. There are certain aspects and things in life that come and go, phases that we go through, trends that we abide by, new things we learn, old habits we forget about in great and things that we love that we will hold onto forever. Now more than ever in my life I have those things that I love and that I refuse to let go. Some things are more evident than others, some things people know about and can see on the surface and other things that I choose not to tell people and I simply go about my day with living with such a happy and motivating feeling inside for those things that I have that get me up and out of bed every morning. I haven’t feared to not love something or even not be loved by someone, what I’ve feared most is losing what I have. When I was younger and I got complacent with my life and felt like I was on top of the world was when I lost it all, I will ever take life for granted again and the things that I have in mine simply because if I were ever to lose it all again I won’t have any regrets, and he worries or any doubt because I gave everything I had to those things in life that I truly loved. From people, to Hobby’s, to sports, to friendships, to relationships and my values that I hold in life. I’m a pretty lucky individual. I feel loved by many people, I love many people, I love many things in life all because I wasn’t willing to hold back, and was willing to put it all out there with knowing that there was a chance that I get something in return, and I feel as if I’ve gotten that now more than ever. This feeling that I have, this happiness that I hold, this attitude I carry is unlike anything I’ve ever felt in life. I feel inspired. So this year, this month and even this week when you’re trying to figure out something to love, and if you will ever be loved do yourself this favor. Go out and be prideful of who you are, be yourself, live life with motivation, work hard, achieve your goals, never stop pushing forward, never hold back, be assertive enough to go after the things you want, lay it all out there, say the things you need to say, don’t hold in the feelings that are most valuable to you, express your love to the ones you truly care about, you give your love to the things that you love and I can promise you that not only will you find something to love, but people and if anything somebody will love you for who you truly are deep down inside and will want to hold onto that forever as well. So this morning when I thought about the things that I’ve loved that I’ve lost, the things that I love that I have, the things that I love that I want and I think of my life now I get really excited for what is to come in the near future. I can’t change what has happened, I can only make the best of my situation and try to alter the course of what’s going to happen through good decisions, perseverance, hard work and a loving and caring attitude towards others. We all love different things. From our girl friends to our boyfriends, our jobs, our lives, sports, hobbies, religion, school, friends and even family. When you love something that much do go to any extent to not lose that feeling and hold onto it forever. You’ll whatever it takes to make that other person feel good and feel happy about themselves. Love is unselfish, love does not expect things in return just merely has the mindset of giving and someday will be rewarded. Love is not an accident, love is a feeling you get only do certain things in life. Love is more than a feeling, in some cases it’s controlling it keeps you going, it motivates you, it makes you happy, it makes you sad, it teaches the lessons. Love causes people to break down, love makes people lose hope, but sometimes love makes people stronger, love makes people daring, love gives you hope. Love drives us all crazy for all the right reasons. The things that I love, have changed over the years, in some cases change day-to-day. But there are some things that I love that I will hold onto forever…. I love you all, I won’t let go of you, I won’t give up, I won’t stop, I won’t give in, I won’t break, I won’t bend, I won’t get down, I won’t be sad, I will keep moving forward, I will keep moving on, I will continue to learn, I will never regret, I will always stay positive, I will always maintain hope, I will cherish life, I will be grateful, I will stand tall, I will hold to my word, I will tell the truth, I will voice my opinions, I will state my beliefs, I will give everything I have into no matter what it is I’m doing, I will continue to be me, I will walk again, I will wake board again, I will always love… And I will always try to be perfect
I owe that to you guys
LOVE who you are, LOVE what you do, LOVE what you stand for, LOVE your family, LOVE your friends, LOVE what’s important to, LOVE your life
Living One Vibrational Energy
Look Observe Verify Enjoy
Love Overcomes Virtually Everything
Let Our Voices Echo
Listen, Overlook, Value, Encourage
Lots of Valuable Energy
Lots of Varied Emotions
Let Our Values Endure
Living Our Vision Everyday
Life’s Only Valuable Emotion
Life Offers Valuable Experiences
Living out Various Emotions
Lots of Violent Emotions
Love Others Very Eagerly Love Our Valuable Earth
Living Our Values Everyday
Living off Vital Emotions
Let Our Voices Emerge
CAN YOU LOVE?
As the new year rings in, the look back on how I spent my time in 2011 and how it got me to where I am today in 2012, and all the great things that have to look forward to in this new coming year. 2011 was one of the best years of my life as it marked the culmination of certain things in my life and a berth in the beginning in other things. But no matter what one thing definitely maintained throughout the course of 2011 and I know will continue wanted to 2012, and that is my unbelievable support structure of friends, family, and my favorite the community. If I ever had any doubt that any people were behind what I was doing in my mission that I was trying to succeed in both personally with my own personal physical goals and most importantly my goals of the foundation and trying to raise more money, all of you reassured the fact to me that all of you are 100% supportive of everything I’m doing and that is the best feeling in the world, and if anything else is something that gets me out of bed every morning. Needless to say, is definitely a year I will never forget, as it was historical in several aspects to me. Most importantly our fourth annual event where we raised over $425,000 and had over 1000 people attend the event at the Hafif Estate. As I sat up on stage that night giving my speech to everybody had many emotions running through my mind. And sometimes as your fundraising and putting all your time and effort into one thing, you have your doubts, your doubts on whether or not what you’re doing is being appreciated and what you’re doing to help other people is worth it. Those doubts one away pretty quickly as I sat up on stage that night and saw 1000 people all eyes in listening to what I had to say. Then that moment in my world stopped and everything went into slow motion I had a really good chance that think about why I do what I do, and how at that very moment it was all worth it. To see 1000 people there not just to support me but to support a cause, to support a population of people that’s in need of help. I came to find out that I wasn’t the only one who got it, the only one who understood it, there was thousands of people there that knew exactly what I. Got sometimes we just need to lean out and reach out to help somebody, and everybody there that I understood that very thing to. That’s how I knew this was all worth it, all the time and effort, all the manpower, all the hours put in, because no matter what at that moment in time I wouldn’t have been doing anything else other than trying to raise money to help other people. And I like to think we did a pretty darn good job of doing so, as we all helped create a record-setting night for the foundation. It made our foundation’s mission extend much farther beyond what we could have ever thought for this coming year in 2012, with having the opportunity with being able to help out more individuals with SCI than we could have ever expected. You all made that possible, and in doing so have gotten the foundation’s name out on a more national scale as we are finally getting the recognition that we all deserve in this community. In 2011 we witnessed the foundation grow far bigger than we would’ve ever thought of, as the foundation held court and made a big run in the vivint.com philanthropy voting competition this past summer, as we almost took home the prize of hundred thousand dollars by winning the Pacific region. It just came to show me all the people that are behind the foundation that were voting every single day in trying to make this dream become a reality. Some of you may recall the huge honor that the foundation received at the beginning of summer from ABC 7. In culmination of the Opera Winfrey show coming to an end on ABC, she launched a program called pay it forward in which it promotes individuals in society or community groups in society to raise money and awareness for a particular cause. Our foundation was nominated to help receive the $7000 reward from one of our own SCI friends that we help, Chris Siebel. Chris nominated us to 87 by sending in a video where he explained how the foundation has helped him get back to being himself once again. ABC 7 gave me a call and said that they would like to come in and do some filming at the Clermont Club, because we were one of the nominees that they highlighted to potentially be a $7000 recipient. After the two-hour filming session, many questions asked and responded to, the news crew brought the entire staff of the club and my family together and presented us a $7000 award is one of the winners of the Pay it Forward campaign. Needless to say, we were all shocked and blown away in quite honored by such a reward. This yet again got the foundation on a national scale and was seen by thousands of people across the nation. But the experience didn’t just stop there. A few days after the segment showed on national television, I received an e-mail from somebody within the ABC 7 Studios broadcast team, their very own and my respected idol Rob Fukuzaki. Rob is the local sports reporter at ABC 7, and he is the host of his own show Sportszone. Rob is somebody who I have been watching for years as he provides much analysis of our local hometown teams. Rob saw the segment of Pay it Forward in the studio, and had heard that I was attending the University of LaVerne to become a sports broadcaster. Ironically enough Rob is a huge prestigious figure on campus at Laverne, is he graduated there himself. Rob invited me into the studios to sit on set, during one of the recordings and live segments of his Sportszone program. I had quite the experience as I got to see Rob in action, and what everything was like behind the scenes. This only further entice me to look forward to working hard and getting my degree so I am able to follow my dreams of hopefully someday becoming a sports broadcaster myself. At a and yet even after that are the foundations recognition didn’t even stop there. My dad and I were contacted by Southwest Airlines with some great news. My dad had submitted a few applications for the past several years of trying to get a story about the foundation put into Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine. Finally our voices heard and we got our big break. Southwest agreed to writing a story about my dads company in conjunction with the foundation, and how his company and the foundation are making a difference in the community by helping other people. The article was written, after a photo shoot with my dad and I was taken by representatives from Southwest. Are article was submitted and published in every seat back pocket across the nation, on every Southwest plane for the entire month of November. Many of you might’ve seen the article. It was perfect. And if anything, continued to get more and more exposure across the nation for all the great things that we are doing to help other people here in our little community. That year that will be remembered forever was personally highlighted by a family trip to Lake Powell, on a houseboat for the first time since my accident. I didn’t know how I would do and what many would consider to be solitary confinement on a 75 foot houseboat. Did I mention that it was out in the middle of nowhere in one of the most beautiful places in the entire world? Yet I guess it wasn’t so bad to be in solitary confinement. We spent 10 days on the houseboat, where I have a lot of time to reflect about how far I’ve come, where I’ve gotten to, who I am as a person, what my aspirations are in life, how many people the foundation has helped, how much my life has changed in four short years, but most importantly how happy and proud I am of just finally coming to accept who I am as a person, what my role is in society and the fact that people are accepting of that role and that person today. That more than anything is one of the best feelings in the world when I wake up and I know that people are accepting of who I am no matter what my condition or state is. And if anything through this entire process I have found the true me. And that person with no cockiness involves, is one of the strongest and mentally powerful people that I know. I say this with confidence with knowing that I can overcome anything that is thrown at me in life and that life is simply quite easy when you break it down to what it really is all about. Life is about being happy, living life to its fullest, not being content with what you have, just simply appreciating everything around you and never giving up, focusing on your dreams, achieving your goals, setting precedence, creating standards, carving new paths, being innovative, reaching out to others in need, but the most important thing of all being confident and comfortable with who you are as a person and knowing that that is the best thing in the entire world. You are you, and there is nothing more that anybody can ask for because you are somebody great, somebody I can go out and make a difference, somebody that has something to offer to the world that nobody else does, and that’s what your unique. God didn’t choose me to be in this situation because he was punishing me for something, he is using me because he will find glory through me. That’s why people are put through these situations. Things in life happen for a reason and it doesn’t necessarily make sense at first, until we are slapped in the face and we have a huge reality check of the big picture of life and how everything in life seems to help us further our pursuit of happiness. So what have I figured out after another full year of my life come and gone again? I guess that my situation is it really that bad. Am I doing all the things that I would want to at this age and stage my life? No, not necessarily, but that doesn’t really matter to me. What matters to me more is the fact that I have the opportunity to wake up every single day and go out and affecting change somebody’s life. That’s far more important than any other personal achievement that may obtain, and it’s more fulfilling than anything in the entire world that I have the opportunity to help others heal. After several country music concerts, a country music benefit concert for the Be Perfect Foundation, several trips to the lake, nights out on the town with friends, nights at home with my family, speaking engagements to people of all ages, high school football games, Angels games or should I say Red Sox games, Dodger games, and what I’m most thankful for these days Laker games, holidays with the family, off roading out at Havasu, and every other little experience and moment that I will hold onto forever spent with my family and friends throughout the year, I like to think I live the perfect life. Under the perfect circumstances, the perfect situation, the perfect community, the perfect support structure, the perfect recovery, the perfect foundation and simply just the perfect mindset and heart full of appreciation, gratitude, sincerity, honor, praise, respect and motivation, towards all of you who help get me up out of bed every morning. I love you all and always remember to be perfect. I look forward to an unbelievable 2012 shared with all of you, let’s go take another step forward in all of our lives and our pursuit of walking again someday together. Happy holidays. HAL JR.
LUKE 5:24 “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”