I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
I recently read a book about a woman who began her life living in foster homes and an institution. As a girl, she did not know what it felt like to be loved. Yet she was able to overcome the odds and become a special and successful woman.
I am speaking of Cindy Bentley. I have had the honor and priviledge to work with Cindy on the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities.
Cindy was born with an intellectual disability, the result of a mother using drugs and alcohol. One of her foster parents lit Cindy's shirt on fire causing third degree burns. Most people would let these experiences hold them back and make them bitter at life. Not Cindy.
Cindy has achieved much. As a start, she now lives on her own and works in an office. But what amazes me about Cindy is that she is an athlete. Cindy has won many medals in Special Olympics. Because of Cindy's success, she has had the opportubity to meet 2 Presidents while they were in office. She even gave President George W Bush one of her gold medals because she thought he deserved one for keeping us safe after the September 11 attacks. The meeting was 3 month's after the attacks.
She has taken some of her medals and placed them in caskets of people who were important to her. She considered them her heros and and changed the medals for a Special Olympic's to a medal of Bravery.
Cindy has become a Global spokeswoman for Special Olympics, she has traveld the world in this role.
What makes the book special, is that it was written in conjunction with the Wisconsin Historical Society as part of the Badger Biographies series and it is the first time that one was written about an individual who is still living. The book was written and is geared toward 4th and 5th grade students. It is also written in a language that people with disbilites would understand.
Cindy has had 2 book sigings at Barnes and Noble, one in Bayshore and the other in Madison. Cindy is just beginning a state wide tour of about 20 grade schools to show people what they can be capable of.
If you are looking for some inspiration, I would highly recommend this book. Cindy Bentley, Spirit of a Champion.