Village Report | April 2024

April 1, 2024 | Jen Griffin, Vice President of Engagement

Jennifer Griffin

by Jen Griffin, Vice President of Engagement

Can’t we all agree that life is a journey filled with twists, turns, and unexpected challenges. From the moment we are born until our twilight years, we encounter obstacles that test our strength, resilience, and determination. While some hurdles may seem insurmountable, stories of individuals like Kathryn Clark Childers and Doug Blevins remind us that with the right mindset and belief, anything is possible.

Kathryn Clark Childers, one of the first five women accepted into the Secret Service, exemplifies the essence of resilience and courage. Breaking barriers in a male-dominated field, she paved the way for future generations of women to pursue their dreams in law enforcement. Kathryn’s ambition might have been seen as “reaching for the stars” or like “fool’s gold” to a woman in the 1960s trying to enter a male-dominated field.

But Kathryn made it happen and served five presidents, even international royalty – and had so many more amazing assignments during her tenure there! (If interested in learning more about Kathryn’s journey, her book Scared Fearless is available on Amazon.) However, her journey did not end with her groundbreaking role in the Secret Service. After retirement, Kathryn embarked on a new chapter of her life, sharing her experiences through public speaking engagements.

Many people chase after the “fool’s gold” of external validation and achievement. Titles, awards, and social status often appear shiny and desirable, but they can ultimately prove hollow. Kathryn Childers’ story reminds us that true worth comes from within. Her unwavering courage and dedication to her dream transcended external recognition.

I had the opportunity to meet Kathryn at a conference this past February. She captivated the audience as she shared her journey in the 60’s as a woman in an all male work environment. She held our attention as she shared photographs and reminisced about the 1960’s and 70’s and how different things were then compared to now. This 77-year old phenom held our attention and she was rewarded with huge applause at the end. She surprised us however, by coming back to the stage to apologize…because she felt she “had stumbled a bit” during her presentation. It was then she courageously shared she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years earlier. She added, “Sometimes it affects me more than others.” At that point, the crowd went wild! A standing ovation and huge applause followed! She not only finished the presentation, she INSPIRED all of us! Despite the challenges posed by her diagnosis, Kathryn put herself out there, made herself vulnerable, and continues to inspire others with her resilience and unwavering determination.

Similarly, consider the story of Doug Blevins who dreamt of playing in the NFL despite being born with cerebral palsy. Doug’s dream of working in the NFL might have initially seemed like “fool’s gold” given his physical limitations. But his unwavering focus and dedication to his passion turned that dream into a fulfilling career. In 1967, he watched Green Bay beat Dallas in the final seconds of the NFL Championship game, also known as the Ice Bowl. From that moment, he knew he wanted to make his living working in professional football in some capacity. Because of his physical condition, he would never be able to actually play in the NFL.

But his dream never wavered. In fact, his perseverance serves as a testament to the power of the human spirit. Rather than “sideline himself” because of his physical limitation, he refused to let that stop him. Instead, he focused on studying physiology, kicking and coaching techniques. He honed his knowledge well enough to eventually become a kicking coach to two of the most prolific NFL kickers in recent history: Adam Venatieri who played for 24 seasons and Justin Tucker – both known for their accuracy and accomplishments.

The resilience displayed by Kathryn and Doug underscores a fundamental truth: obstacles are not roadblocks but opportunities for growth and transformation. Their stories remind us that the size of the obstacle is irrelevant; what truly matters is our mindset and determination to overcome adversity.

Kathryn Clark Childers and Doug Blevins serve as testaments to the fact that the most valuable things in life aren’t found by chasing fleeting successes, but by cultivating resilience.  Their stories shine brighter than any “fool’s gold” because they illuminate the power of the human spirit. As we navigate our own journeys at CC Young, let’s draw inspiration from these remarkable individuals and remember that the greatest victories are those won within ourselves. By adopting a growth mindset and embracing challenges, we can transform obstacles and achieve our own version of greatness.

As we continue to embrace our “go for the gold” mantra this year, don’t get distracted with “fool’s gold” but rather draw inspiration from remarkable individuals like these examples and others who cross our path daily. If we take a moment to stop and chat, the stories we hear will inspire us. Relationships and mindset are the true gold.

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