Lifetime achievement

Blue Heart

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.

7 comments for “Lifetime achievement

  1. Val
    May 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Congrats!! You have earned it for sure!

  2. May 3, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Congrats Sam! Worthy is not strong enough to describe your work.
    Keep it up my friend!

  3. May 4, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Excellent, Sam! How nice of AB to reward people for their efforts. And thank you for all the work you do for us.

  4. May 6, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Congratulations, Sam! You’ve really come a long way! I am proud of you!

  5. Sheila
    May 7, 2010 at 12:22 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more – – – Kim B. has a heart as big as the moon!! She has come along side us all to give of her special brand of love and support. I am so blessed to call her my dear friend.

    Congratulations, Sam. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay on Friday to see you get your heart, Tin Man.

  6. KIM
    May 17, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    After many attempts to view your page… and now tonight at the public library I am able to so so… I must say I am speechless. Sam…. Sam… Sam the Ham… You are so deserving. If there was every anything in life I want to know is that the torch carries on and people continue to pay it forward and give the joy and blessing of hearing to others! I was blessed and my life enriched by AB so many years ago – that it is hard to not continue to say Kudos and thanks and share that joy!! I can set my implant and forget it; I don’t fret about a lot of things in regards to my hearing. I think a lot of that comes from AB’s awesome technolgy and with that I can still sing their praise!!! Nothing thrills me more then to know that others are also singing the same song and telling others!! TO you, my dear friend Sam, I am honored and blessed to know!!! There is an incredible blessing of knowing YOU and a greater blessing to call you a AB Bionic Dude!!!

  7. Lelia
    June 2, 2010 at 2:21 am

    All I can say Sam is, WOW! I clicked on a blog the other day to see an eighth month old little boy Cochlear implant activation, and I was hooked. I’ve never heard of Cochlear implants. I guess I’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere because everyone I’ve talked to has heard of them. What a miraculous engineering feat! (or should I say Bionic feat?)

    Browsing the world of YouTube, I came across your activation videos and sat mesmerized through all six. You’re a funny guy! Being a hearing person, I can only TRY to imagination what it’s like to hear something that you have never heard before. I applaud your positive outlook on life, your sense of humor, and your “go for it” attitude. All of this I have gleaned from your videos, web site, and your picture site, so, you must make a good first impression! Congratulations on your lifetime achievement award, apparently you’ve impressed a lot of people.

    I too (being 50 something, as you say), have again picked up the photography bug hobby, and am enjoying it immensely. I’ve scrolled through your pictures and you have a good eye.

    I’ve never responded to a web site before (a “long time listener, first time caller” kind of thing), but I have to admit you inspired me to send you a note. Your family should be very proud of you. Thank you for an educational and enjoyable afternoon of browsing the web. Hope you did as well as you expected in your marathon, and good luck in the future.


    By the way, I could tell from the first video, even before I saw your profile, that you were an IT guy. I’ve worked with a lot of you guys over the years…You’re very recognizable!!

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