Dominoes Episode Fourty-Eight

It was the final day of the intern gathering. There had been a lot of side conversations about each intern could honor Charley’s memory. There wasn’t anything that stood out until Tracie and Austin presented their ideas on making difference stories of everyday folks.

“We believe that we should honor those who are making a difference in their everyday lives”, began Austin. “Think about teachers who inspire their students, coaches who inspire confidence, first responders who put their lives on the line to save others, those in the military who secure our democracy. And then there are those who work on our causes. With just a little imagination, you can think of people you know who should have their stories told.”

“Writing these stories can inspire those who conduct the interviews. It had that effect on me”, added Tracie. “I’m sure we can develop lots of ideas of how to share these stories with others. Each of us can become mentors to others who would like to get involved in writing the stories. We will be expanding on the believer’s network that Charley taught us. Tracie and I have prepared a story on one of my volunteers to give you an example of what these stories might look like.”

Ahmed met Wilma when he began his freshman year. I introduced them so that Ahmed could fulfill his community service hours. Wilma’s mind was sharp, but her organs were failing due to years of uncontrolled diabetes.

It didn’t take long for Ahmed and Wilma to develop a loving caring relationship. Wilma had no family, and Ahmed became her surrogate grandson. Nurses told me that they had never seen such a relationship even among biological family members.

Wilma wasn’t given long to live when she and Ahmed first met, but it seems that her will to live was extended by Ahmed. And she became more diligent about her medical treatment because she didn’t want to let Ahmed down.

Four years after they first met, Ahmed was due to graduate. It seems as if Wilma was determined to be there, and she was. Since Ahmed’s family was unable to come to the U.S., Wilma was the only one there to see him walk across the stage. That night, Ahmed fixed a traditional Middle Eastern meal for Wilma before taking her back to the nursing home.

Wilma died peacefully that night and Ahmed extended his stay in America by a few days so that he could say his last goodbyes. As he boarded the plane to return home, he realized that he had gained so much more from his education than he ever realized. He had become a difference maker.

As the interns finished reading the story, there was not a dry eye in the room. Tracie and Austin didn’t need to say more about how these stories could extend Charley’s legacy. While they had come together in sorrow, each of the interns left with renewed hope both for their cause and for creating a belief that everyone can make a difference.

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“Unless someone likes you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss


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