“My wife was a third-grade schoolteacher,” so he practiced in front of those students, then went to churches and different organizations. Now he travels the country, presenting 200 speeches annually.
Of high school, the author observed, “Life gets even bigger than this. The things you do here can set you up for a good future.” He admitted it can be “stressful learning how to fit in,” but advised, “Do now what you want them to remember 20 years down the line.” Smiling, holding doors and learning how to get along will pay off.
Drugs and alcohol “can easily take you down the road where you don’t want to go.” Bleill added that some choices are “not popular, not easy, but it will make you a better person.”
“Everybody has bombs going off in their lives, things they don’t see coming. Some of you in this room have gone through harder things than I have.” He stressed, “Do not add to somebody else’s bomb …. Don’t bully. Don’t be mean. We don’t have to be best friends with everybody.” After living with 100 Marines, “I ended up losing 22 of my friends. We didn’t all get along, but I loved those brothers.
“Don’t add to anybody else’s struggles. Add to their blessings.”
The survivor reflected that after he was injured, “I gave up for awhile. I lost my hope. I could have easily sat in that wheelchair for the rest of my life … I said, This is my life … I’ve got to quit saying, ‘Why me?’ and go forward.” The best decision is to believe “I’m going to get past this.”
The motivator concluded, “I am much more than robot legs. I am a father, a husband, a Colts spokesperson, a Marine. Don’t let anybody limit you or tell you who you are.”
Debbie Blank can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.