Last week I turned forty; I think it’s only fair that I give some credit where credit is due.  Without the kindness of these people, I don’t know where, or who, I’d be today. These are some of the many folks that showed me unbelievable kindness, a kindness I try to pay forward as often as possible.

Wendy Fletcher – Invited me to my first sleepover with the ‘in-crowd’ after a heart-breaking and difficult move to a new town, while in Jr. High.

Linda Miracle – Didn’t even know me very well.  My family was struggling. We couldn’t afford a new homecoming dress. Linda invited me over, opened up her closet and said, “Pick anything you like.”

Kim Sepiol  – Offered her heart, and already burdened shoulder, during my struggle to care for my son over a year of painful surgeries, all the while going through her own daughter’s heart surgery.

Derek Meinhard – Took up a collection in high school to buy me a ticket to see ‘The Nutcracker’ when he heard I couldn’t really afford to go on the field trip.  He even scraped together enough for me to buy lunch.

Chad Blech – Tutored an incredibly discouraged ‘creative thinker’ through geometry when I was at the lowest point of my academic career.

Rand Meade – Drove from Virginia to Indiana to literally ‘pick me up’, drive me back to DC and put me up after I had suffered a break-down following an abusive relationship.

Mrs. Mosier – My creative writing teacher that never judged.  She read and knew the most intimate details of my life.  I’ll never forget her arm around my shoulder on a day I needed that most.

Mr. Perry – My sixth grade teacher could tell that I needed to talk to someone.  He took me to McDonalds for lunch. Today he would be fired for that.  Today he is still my hero.

The Rocchio Family – My surrogate family when I needed one most.  As a nurse, my mom had to work long, tough hours to support us.  One morning, around 5AM, I awoke from a terrible nightmare and literally ran to their house.  Mr. Rocchio and I sat watching TV until I fell asleep again on their couch.

Arthur Gross – My best friend and roommate of many years.  There are too many moments to mention where he saved my sanity, if not my life.

Megan Sacco – Gave an over-the-hill, fledgling filmmaker a chance at the festival circuit and remains supportive and ‘virtually’ close to me every day.

Jay Miller – Let an uneducated, inexperienced, cocky kid climb out from behind the reception desk just long enough to find an advertising career and a family away from home.

Mike Gapen – Scared the crap out of someone for me once – someone who really deserved it.  Period.

Chris Pierce – Never has anyone been so encouraging, or watched so much late night, bad TV with me, especially when I had lost my spark.  He never let me say, “I can’t”.