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Archive for November, 2011

Thankful Four

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The last two years my son Jack and I have developed the tradition of running in the “I’m Thankful Four” Run/Walk in Nappanee. It is an amazing sight to see hundreds of people flock to NorthWood High on Thanksgiving morning to support this tradition and the memory of Kelsey Mikel.

So many people get up Thanksgiving morning and immediately get to work on preparing the big meals for later in the day (well, the men check the TV listings to see when the football games will be on later that day…), and that is a big deal, but these folks make it a priority each year to be there – snow, cold wind, or half-decent weather – to run or walk. Six hundred and thirty people came out this year. We hear negative things about young people these days, but I saw all kinds of teens that could have slept in that instead were there ready to run or walk.

I decided to do the 4 Mile Run. My son Jack, a college cross country runner, got up front with the gazelle-like beings, and they fired off like rockets. I stayed in the back of the pack with the lumberers and the walkers. If you have ever seen any kind of Dinosaur movie where the herd of brontosaurus’ get rattled by the threat of a T-Rex or something, and then start rumbling along – that would be an approximate image of me running. At 6 foot five and two hundred and thirty eight pounds, I ‘boom boom boom’ along.

Because it was chilly and the wind was pretty strong, just before the race start I put my hood around my face and asked Jack to tie it. Well, he tied it in a regular knot and not a bow. The race got underway and within half a mile my glasses started fogging up. As I ran/lumbered I tried to undo the knot, only to learn it was in a knot, tied tigher than a new boot. I couldn’t get the hoodie off. With the glasses completely fogged up, it’s a wonder I didn’t run into a tree. Have you ever tried to untie a knot that was so tight that it was practically impossible? Try doing that while running!!

As we made our way around that part of Nappanee, one of the special parts is venturing off course a bit and running around a special tree planted in memory of Kelsey with an engraved rock at the base.

Kelsey was a junior at NorthWood High School when she died in an auto accident in August of 2004.  She was an honor student taking three AP classes as a junior, the business manager of NorthWood’s yearbook, the Logue, and the manager of the cross country team.  Kelsey loved little children, and they returned the love to her.

Kelsey always had a kind smile and word for everyone.  Anyone who met her knew of her kind heart and love for others.

Strong believers in organ donation, The Mikel family continues to be active supporters of the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization. When IOPO celebrated its 20th anniversary in September of 2007, the Mikel family was given the opportunity to meet Audrey Babcock who had received one of Kelsey’s kidney’s.

As this years event went along, I got about three miles into the four mile run when we merged with the walkers, who were making their 2 mile loop. You know you are slow when you are running but people say, “Oh, there’s Charlie Adams, who used to be on the News. So glad you decided to come out and do the Walk this year.”

Glasses totally fogged up, I tried to keep from running over the women with strollers. The event ended at the NorthWood High School Track. A young man named Aaron Hoover won by running the four miles in twenty minutes. He is so dedicated to this event that he drives back from Colorado each year to run in it and defend his title. Jack was among the top as he ran at a six minute per mile pace, finishing the four miles in twenty four minutes. They timed me by turning calendar pages along the way.

Over $40,000 has been raised to help NorthWood High students with college scholarships through this special tradition. We have loved being a part of it.

Charlie Adams, Motivational Speaker

A Remarkable Example of TEAM !

Friday, November 18th, 2011

“The happiest people I have known have been those who gave themselves no concern about their own souls, but did their uttermost to mitigate the miseries of others.”
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

The ‘Stoke the Fire Within’ message is often customized to focus on TEAM when I speak. Recently I was able to be a small part of one of the most powerful TEAM experiences of my life. Nappanee Missionary out in the cornfields on State Road 19 north of Nappanee, Indiana, took on the massive task of preparing 1.2 million meals for Feed My Starving Children. 18,000 children die every day across the world from starvation, so the need to help is critical. The Church raised the funds to purchase the food, then worked hard to get over 5000 volunteers from Elkhart County and beyond to help pack the food over three intense days.

Over 5000 people responded, and drove in from all over the area to do whatever it took to get that food prepared. I volunteered for two shifts Friday.

Volunteers were part of 13 shifts from Thursday to Saturday. The coordination was a remarkable example of how people can come together and accomplish great things. Upon arrival, the several hundred in my shift were given an overview in the Sanctuary, and then moved to the Church gym. There, everyone was given volunteer job opportunities and a brief description of what each role required. Then it was off to the ‘food preparing races!’

What amazed me was how quickly everyone found the right role and adapted to their job. Sherrill and Dave got into the assembly line at one table and helped prepare the rice, soy protein, dried vegetables and a chicken-flavored vegetarian broth filled with vitamins and minerals. A big guy like me (6′5″, 235 pounds) darted around the gym ready to pick up the prepared boxes filled with meals and quickly get them to the people who weighed them who got them to the people who taped up the boxes who got them to people like Tom who got them on trucks which then took them to ports.

Elderly people who couldn’t get around sat and helped to seal bags or put proper stickers on the bags. Strong, strappin’ men hauled the bins of rice and soy around to each table. Others hastily put the boxes together. It was an inspiring example of teamwork. You had black by white, an Elkhart County man by a Michigan lady. A Purdue fan working alongside an IU fan (miracles happen!).

Friday night after the High School Sectional championship Football games, the teens came roaring in and put the food together at lightning speed until past midnight. They shouted and challenged each other, as music was piped in from the speakers. I was konked out from hauling hundreds of boxes by then, but people tell me what the young people did was wonderful to see.

Over three frenzied days 1,205,280 meals were prepared. Due to the efforts of 5,200 volunteers it will now be possible for 3,302 children to have a hot meal every day for a year. Some of these children have been eating biscuits made primarily from dirt from the ground. Others have eaten rocks just so that they can get something in their bellies to make them fill full.

As we all know, it is such an incredible feeling to give. I was exhausted after hauling hundreds of heavy boxes, but the feeling driving up SR 19 on the way home made me forget about the aching back and knees!

Nappanee Missionary Church is going to take on this challenge again. If you would like to experience it, let Tom Edgerton know you would like to be a volunteer. Send him an email at

“This has been a life changing experience.” Tanya White, teacher, Wakarusa Elementary School.

“All these children out there starving is a heart wrenching thing.” Nate Yoder, Volunteer

“Let us give ourselves to service.” Romans 12:7


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