I first met Mike Lenhart three years ago. We were serving together on the Host Team at Buckhead Church (www.buckheadchurch.org). We hit it off as friends for many reasons - we are both "people" persons, passionate about helping others, enjoy "serving", exercise regularly (I am a "swimmer" and Mike does triathlons) and yes, we are both very organized and focused! Mike was in a business development role at Novell and had progressed handily in his career when we met. Prior to Novell, Mike spent a number of years with "Big Blue" (aka IBM) as well as 1-2 other companies and also spent seven years in the US Army.
When we first met, Mike talked about wanting to start his own non-profit organization to assist disabled athletes compete in triathlon-related sports. His idea was that he wanted to give individuals that had had a life-changing injury, a second chance at life - a second chance at competing via sports (FYI - Mike is an avid biker, runner, and swimmer). His first thought was to focus on individuals injured while serving in the US military but that focus quickly shifted to a broader array of potential candidates for a program that he entitled the Getting2Tri Foundation, Inc. (http://www.getting2tri.org/).
The Getting2Tri Foundation (G2T) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides coaching, training and mentoring to physically-challenged (PC) athletes in the sports of swimming, running, cycling and triathlon. Specifically, they address the needs of individuals with limb loss, paralysis, muscular or neurological disorders and create a unique community of support. G2T connects physically challenged athletes with able-bodied athletes or other PC athletes through a unique mentoring and coaching partnership. G2T supports wounded war veterans and non-military amputees with programs to regain self-esteem and integration into their communities.
Several months ago, Mike was telling me a story about an interview he was giving - he talked about many aspects of his career and life to date - and said "...you know, when I started talking about my foundation and its work with these amazing individuals, I could feel my heart beating faster, my energy level went through the roof - I am so passionate about this opportunity to make a difference!"
Mike developed the concept, did the research and networking to "figure it out", and made it happen. Idea to implementation. Impacting lives regularly through his time, dedication, compassion and interest in others. Last week, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the G2T National ParaTriathlon Training Camp and I have to say, it was amazing to meet the athletes - those that had truly overcome life's obstacles and were moving forward along unfamiliar paths.
What are you doing to pursue your lifelong passion? Your dreams?! What is the next step to make the idea...reality?