Six Degrees of SeparationI was speaking to my dad tonight after he got home from the hospital.

I had went to visit him this past weekend, and while I was there I gave him a photo of my friend Dr. Andre Watson, and myself, a photo that was taken at the Pennsylvania State Judo Championships… But, I had forgotten to write the information on the back of the photo for dad. So he had called tonight to tell me he was home, and ask for the information.

After telling him about Andre, he mentioned how nice it is that I know such people, and how he wishes he could meet Andre some day. I really thought nothing of it till now, but I really do know some amazing people.

You see, my friend Dr. Andre Watson, is a black belt in judo, and a member of the US Paralympic Blind Judo Team. He fought in the 2008 Paralympic Summer Games, and Parapan American Games, visited many countries including Brazil, China, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and many states in the USA. He’s received his master’s and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from Widener University. – He’s blind…

Rich (Left) and Dr. Andre Watson (Right)

I think that qualifies as amazing. Don’t you?

I can think of a few other people I happen to know. Because of Andre, I also know Marc Vink, Paralympic Judo Team Leader, and Heidi Moore, Director of Judo Development for the US Association of Blind Athletes.

I can also think of some people who truly inspire me. Elaine, my Orientation and Mobility instructor; she has dedicated her life to helping people like me, who cannot see well to get around safe.

My first judo instructor Dr. Frank Heifer, who just happened to be the superintendent of our school, back when I first started judo, and many other teachers in the school system that happened to also be judo black belts, that until I started judo, I did not know where black belts.

Other friends such as Cole Massie and Skilled Companion Ilia, and their family who inspire me to keep working hard no matter what. Who shared the most private parts of their lives as a family and a child with a disability on national television. Whose service dog won the 2008 ASPCA Dog of the Year, and as a family won the 2009 Honda Helpful Award. He’s helped inspire the writing of this blog, and me to seek orientation and mobility training to become an independent traveler.

Yea, I do know some amazing people!

So, who do you know? A teacher, doctor, son, service person? Who are the people who inspire you, and are the amazing people you call friends… Blog it! And share your story…

Hell, I’m a legally blind photographer, and a black belt in judo myself. Do I inspire any one? Let me know!

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