As I graduated college and began my trek into the working world I knew to look for a job that I would either love or be good at. As you know (if you’ve been following along) I did happen to find something that I loved AND was good at, but something was missing. It felt like a cliché, but I wanted to give energy to something that really mattered and something I did completely for someone else. I had found my passion, but it was time to find my purpose. In my 20’s I found my passion for events, in my mid 30’s I found a second passion in starting my own company, but it was in between those two passions that I found my purpose and it has been a game CHANGER.
In 2013 I “ran” the Tunnel to Towers annual 5k with my family for the very first time. It is a race that retraces the steps of Firefighter Stephen Siller as he rushed to the twin towers on September 11, 2001. Stephen had just gotten off shift when he heard the towers had been hit. He went back to Squad 1, grabbed his gear, & drove to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. The tunnel was already closed by the time he got there, so he strapped on 60 lbs of gear, and ran the 2 plus miles to Downtown Manhattan where he laid down his life saving others. Stephen was one of the 343 firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on that horrible day. I am not a runner (I am bad at it & truly hate it) but the race was the most moving experience I had ever encountered. It left me inspired, heartbroken and above all grateful for our military and first responders.
Then, as fate would have it in 2017, a Tunnel to Towers staff member reached out to me to see how he could help me with Team Prifte Punch with race day details. What started out as a sketchy meeting in a parking lot in Weehawken with a stranger to get race bibs, has turned out to be one of the greatest strokes of luck I’ve yet to encounter. Matt was new to the foundation and looking to start a Young Professionals Network for the Foundation and wanted to know if I would be interested in joining. The answer was a calm yes while inside I was screaming HELL YES. Four years later I find myself serving as President with the greatest group of people I’ve ever met while supporting the foundation in its mission of “while we have time, let us do good”. They don’t just give away houses to catastrophically injured veterans or families of fallen first responders, they are giving families hope, safety, and a place to call home. I am humbled every day that I get to be a small part of the good the Tunnel to Towers Foundation does, and not just by having Team Prifte Punch race & fundraise for the 5k but all year round. I would say the work is selfless, but in doing work for others i've found a sense of purpose I didn't know existed so really I feel like the selfish one.
I LOVE this country, but my love of country has never called me to defend it or keep those within our borders safe and out of harms way… I’m not brave enough. In hindsight it makes sense that my call to serve allows me to channel my talents and passion into taking care of those who take care of us. I may not be the finest, bravest, or a defender of freedom but I can show my gratitude for their sacrifice by supporting them (and no I'm not talking about my love of a man in uniform, for which I do not apologize lol).
SO my advice is to find the job you love or you’re good at or both, but then set out to find your purpose and your people. Because drowning in your inbox or having to-do lists that look like CVS receipts is not what living a purpose driven life is all about. Make sure that you don’t miss your call to serve because work is on the other line.
Your calling may be totally different than mine, but as we go into the 4th of July weekend every American should find a way to support and show gratitude to a soldier (maybe consider donating to our race team) because freedom isn’t free and our flag does not fly because wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.
“O beautiful for heroes proved, In liberating strife, Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life!