The Blue Heart…this is what the company that makes my cochlear implant, Advanced Bionics, awards to people who have achieved something special in the world of cochlear implants. I was honored to have the opportunity to join 16 other chapter leaders of the Bionic Ear Association (BEA) for a day of what it takes to start and run a successful BEA chapter.
The next day I joined twenty or so other CIers for a tour of the manufacturing facility and all day sessions of what it takes to be a successful mentor. This was something that I had done back in March of 2009 as part of the original class of mentors. So, I am looking at my fellow mentors (who I will decline to name to protect whatever reputation they have left) and I am like “ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz” as in its time for a nap! Actually, the tour was A LOT more entertaining and informative than the first one. I even got to see the most important department of them all – Shipping…..where believe it or not, if the Fed Ex truck has left for the day, AB will send a van out to chase after them to make sure a shipment gets same day treatment the customer service folks promised.
Towards the end of the day, Patti T. finally gets to address the crowd that before we break for an hour of rest before dinner, a couple of the AB chicks including my manager, Katie, get a chance to say a few kind things about some of us. About 20 seconds into her speech, I knew she was talking about me. Trust me…”no” is a word that is NOT in my vocabulary. And finally, she announced that I was the recipient of the Blue Heart. I was literally “speechless”. I did not expect it.
I really wished I had the time to compose myself and say a few words but when I finally came to and thought about it, we were already well into the desserts at the dinner that followed. If I had the opportunity to do it over again, there is one person that comes to mine….Kim B.
Kim was my mentor from day one. She is the prototype cheerleader…the one who is so loyal and dedicated to AB. The one who was part of the original group that started Hearing Journey. The one who gets so little credit for all of the giant steps she has taken for others. The one whose heart is so big there is plenty of room to absorb every other heart that she has encountered in life. If it wasn’t for her, this day would not have been possible. My lifetime commitment and partnership with the finest cochlear implant company in the world would not have been possible if not for Kim…and her husband, Mike. Thank you Kim….words alone cannot describe how I feel but if the picture above is worth a thousand words, your friendship is worth an infinite amount.
I also want to thank the ABers that epitomize the dream that Al Mann set out to accomplish…..Patti, Katie, Beth Ann, Carly, Edie, Christy, Jen and the hostess of the mostest…Linda! To all of those chapter leaders, mentors and AB/BEA kahunas. this was a very special day that I will forever cherish and am glad you were there to celebrate it. To two very special angels…one who was there, one who wasn’t….thank you for all of your support and love.
And lastly, to my wife of 30 something years who put up with my “silence on purpose”, there is no greater meaning in life than that of one with you.