by Chuck Mencke DTM District Webmaster
November is known as the month of gratitude, and December is known as the month of giving gifts with no expectation of receiving anything in return. I’d like to put a spin on the typical Hot Topics article this month and combine the two.
As many of you are aware, I have been combining gratitude and giving by portraying Santa and spreading the spirit of the holiday season for the past 30+ years. That is until this year.
In October, my left leg went sepsis almost overnight, and my surgeon immediately started the process of helping me understand what I was facing. Sepsis is when the blood in your body gets infected. My sepsis was so bad, my surgeon wasn’t sure if I was going to make if through the night. I was immediately admitted to the hospital for a clean-out procedure. At that point, my surgeon told me the only way to save my life was amputation. He would perform the clean-out and give me a couple of days to come to terms with what needed to happen. My first thoughts were not about me, but about my wife, Terry, and how this was going to affect her life. I knew our lives were going to change forever, and 99% of that change would land smack dab on Terry’s shoulders.
Shortly after my amputation, Wayne Lewis, Area 33’s Director messaged me asking if it was okay to feature me in their “Winner’s Column.” He said he saw me as a hero, considering everything I’ve been through. I was honored and humbled by the request. I started thinking, do I really consider myself a hero? No, I don’t think so, at least not in the true sense of the word. Have I inspired others? I’ve been told I have. Does that make me a hero? Maybe. But in my opinion, the real hero in my life is my beautiful wife, Terry. Especially now that I have just one leg. Over the past 10 years, I couldn’t have tackled the insurmountable odds and medical challenges that have stood in my way. I couldn’t have scaled those mountains without the REAL hero in my life. Terry has never given up on me, even when I thought of giving up on myself. Through thick and thin, she has been there for me. And she continually reminds me that she will be there forever, “for better or worse.”
Remember to recognize the heroes in your life, those constantly at your side. I would like to recognize my incredible wife, MY hero, Terry, who has never stopped believing in me. I love her so much and want to thank her for every gift of herself she has given me. Each and every day with her is like Christmas. I am truly blessed. My challenge to you, start 2022 out on the right foot and recognize those unsung heroes in your life. Express gratitude to them for what they continually give back to you and the world around them.