August 2013 Letter

This week:

- Our older kids, then and now
- Summer training for the younger kids, and some cool volunteer news
- New feature for the EE website: Our first columnist!



With more EE kids graduating from high school and continuing their education in school or the military, we thought it might be fun to update you on what they're doing with some "then and now" photos. More importantly, we wanted you to know how much of a difference you've made in their lives. All of the kids in the photos below have been with us almost since the Foundation's beginning, and so have many of you who have supported them so generously. So enjoy some pictures that you helped make possible.

Isi Ibarra graduated from San Gorgonio High and will be entering Riverside Community College next month. She's not only been invited to be a member of the school's cross country team, they also backed it up with a scholarship. She's been working out with the team all summer, and plans to use these two years as a springboard to a four-year college.

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Isi's brother Miguel (with her, above, and also with stepdad and EE volunteer Meli, below) just finished his second year at Cal State San Bernardino. He's determined to be an engineer and two years of difficult school hasn't changed his mind. Top pro triathletes are still his heroes; that's him with many-time Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington.

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Vianey Barrios is another EE old-timer. A new family isn't keeping her from pursuing a degree. She's transferring from Valley College to another junior college in Whittier, where she now lives with Sergio and little Sebastian.

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Edgar Orozco Samano, who has been with us since the very beginning when he was in Cypress Elementary School, graduated from high school five years ago and joined the US Marines. He's now in charge of a motor pool squad in Camp Pendleton, and lives in San Diego with his wife, Maria, and their son, Damien. Lee and I were proud to attend his re-enlistment ceremony two years ago aboard the USS Midway, along with Mike "Voice of Ironman" Reilly and a then-pregnant Maria.

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After graduation, Jose Lopez decided to join the US Army, where he distinguished himself serving as a signal corpsman in Afghanistan. Here he is after winning a race in 2005 and with EE teammate Nik Keller before his deployment overseas.

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Speaking of Nik: He graduated from high school with top honors and entered UC San Diego. We attended his graduation from the UCSD School of Engineering, where he majored in bioengineering. For the last three years he's been focused on the world of artificial limbs, and this month he starts a new job with a major prosthetics manufacturer in San Diego.

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And while we're on the subject of UCSD, Marlene Samano just finished her first year there. But we can't quite figure out what year she's in: Marlene finished two years of college while she was still in high school (from which she graduated as salutatorian), so technically she entered the university as a junior, but she's planning on taking three years to finish so she can get more classes in. No matter how you look at it, she's doing great!


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The younger kids have been training hard all summer, preparing for our annual mid-September race to see which five get to go to the Challenged Athletes Foundation event in San Diego in October. Last Sunday's practice was an extra-special event, because we got to say congratulations to two of our volunteers for two reasons: First, Ryan and Brad (center, below) were married last month, and second, on August 8th Brad came in 7th place overall in a grueling 100-mile trail race in an amazing time of 23 hours, 22 minutes. He received great support from bride Ryan, as well as from Shoe Craig, each of whom ran big chunks of the race with him during the last fifty miles. (That's the only time it's legal; for the first fifty, he was on his own.) And, by the way, these guys were really racing: After nearly 100 miles, Brad out-sprinted his closest competitor and beat him by 40 seconds. You'll be hearing all the details in Craig's new "Shoe Newz" column soon, announced below. (Photo: Cherie explains Brad's accomplishment to the kids along with Ryan, Brad and Shoe Craig.)






Announcing a new feature for the EE website: Our first columnist!



No, it's not a column about shoes. EE volunteer extraordinaire Craig "Shoe Craig" Pallot is going to be writing a monthly (or thereabouts) column for us highlighting the athletic endeavors of our small band of dedicated volunteers. There will be stories of races and other experiences, from Shoe Craig as well as occasional guest columnists. The first entry is Shoe Craig's story of his Half-Ironman race at Vineman last month. Soon after he'll be telling you about EE volunteer Brad Harris's amazing 100-mile trail run, and, shortly thereafter, we should get the story of Brad's wife, Ryan, another of our stalwart EE crew, doing the same, only at 7,000' higher elevation. Click on the pair of shoes, above, to go to Shoe Craig's "Shoe Newz" page.

* It's "Shoe Craig" for two reasons: The first is that he works in a running store and has made it his business to see that all of the EE kids are outfitted with good running shoes. The second is to distinguish him from long-time super-volunteer "Trailer Craig" Huendorf, keeper, maintainer and transporter of all of our equipment, among many other wonderful things he does for the kids. 



Hope you're all having a wonderful summer and, as always, thank you for your continuing support of the kids.