For most of my adult life I have experienced an immense fear of heights, one family member argued "no Mary you have a fear of falling," all I know is that I couldn't even look over the edge of a second story shopping mall or take an open staircase without feeling queasy. That changed today thanks to Habitat for Humanity-Riverside.
Motivated by the need to raise money for Habitat and it's veteran programs, I agreed to rappel down seven stories of the Riverside City Hall building downtown. All I needed to do was solicit friends, neighbors, and social media connections and raise $1,000 to secure my spot.
The American Spirit Over The Edge Team was myself, Karla Adams and Isadore Ramirez. It's a miracle Isadore is even alive let alone able to rappel down a building. A retired U.S. Marine and businessman, Isadore has a spine made mostly of metal after surviving an industrial accident. Even so, he donned the harness and ropes insisting that he help out his military brothers and sisters. Isadore's story "Backbone" was featured in 2016 on an episode of American Spirit on PBS.
For Karla motivating others is simply her way of life. A fitness trainer and gym owner, she recently launched a foundation to give back to the community. Look for some amazing events in 2018! In addition, her brother Wesley has made great strides recently on his road to recovery after serving during Desert Storm, so giving back via Habitat for Humanity was a natural.
One look at the Facebook page and tweets our team made over the past few weeks is testament to the incredibly generous friends, family, and colleagues we have across not only the Inland Empire-but the U.S. People really care about our veterans and the homeless issue facing our nation. For that we am incredibly thankful. This wasn't about Mary Parks overcoming a fear of heights, rappelling down City Hall was to raise awareness that society has to do a better job of taking care of the men and women who have served our country. Amen.