It is with a sad heart that I send this message, but I wanted our Exceeding Expectations family to know of the passing of Craig Huendorf, one of our dearest friends and dedicated volunteer.
Many years ago, in the very early days of Exceeding Expectations, I was speaking to a group in Los Angeles. As is my M.O., regardless of what the group expects to hear from me, I always include the story of Exceeding Expectations. Following the talk, Craig approached me saying he lived in the San Bernardino area and was very interested in working with our kids. He was clearly a great guy, but I’m often approached by folks who get enthusiastic about the program only to later discover that their own lives are too busy for this kind of involvement. Not so with Craig. He was “all-in” from that moment.
Craig took over our bike/gear trailer, which included being Chief Bike Technician and Trailer Driver, both of which take plenty of time, skill and commitment. On many occasions he rose in the middle of the night to pick up the trailer and drive it as many as 90 miles to get it to an event by 5:30 am. A multiple-time recipient of our "Volunteer of the Year" award, Craig also built the trailer out with shelving, bike hooks and all the tools needed to keep our gear in good working order.
We were all devastated to learn that he was in a battle with cancer. He fought hard, but it returned and the treatments were no longer working for him. He went to be with his daughter, a lovely young woman who lives in Woodland Hills, and passed peacefully in his sleep – the only thing that is comforting to those who lost this wonderful man and good friend.
Craig was a kind heart and a gentle soul. He lived a full life, but was always there for EE, in whatever capacity we needed. When the kids heard about the loss, many of the older ones brought up their memories of Craig. He drove two boys to Vineman for their first 70.3 when I broke a collar bone days before the race and couldn’t go. Afterwards, he took them on a once-in-a-lifetime trip into San Francisco to experience the city. He once filled his truck with kids and took them to Arizona to watch me race an Ironman. He was a regular with us at CAF. And the memories just keep coming.
We now have to fill the demanding job of Trailer Master. But we’ll never be able to replace "Trailer Craig." He was one-of-a-kind and we will miss him every day.