Today, I watched a show called Amazing Families and saw your story. I just wanted to say 'thanks' to your whole family. I am very aware that it is because of people like yourselves, who fought before us to get acceptance in the real world, that our struggles are less. Yes, I do have to be vigilant and fight for my son to have what he needs, but because others have done it before us, it is easier. Now I can go into a school meeting and say, 'Zachary will go to college. Look at Rick Hoyt, he did it, and so will Zach.' You have helped me to affirm that anything is possible if you are willing to be creative and work hard...
This is more than a story of a father's love, though it certainly speaks to all fathers, this one included. It's also a story of courage, the kind any of us could be called upon to demonstrate in our own lives. And if we were, we'd have two wonderful examples to follow in Dick and Rick Hoyt, both of whom I am proud to call friends.
Our family watched your video this evening, my four year old daughter sitting in my lap. I did my best to explain to her the reasons that Rick could not use his legs and the reasons his father worked so hard to give him a taste of life beyond his wheelchair. She nodded quietly. Tonight, as we got her dressed for bed, she asked about the video again and said, 'Mom and dad, you love me like that daddy loves his son?' We told her, 'Yes, we do.' She then said, 'Mom and dad, can you please write to that daddy and ask him how his boy is? Can you thank him?'...
Dick, I have fond memories of meeting you. Through the dedication of Team Hoyt, a much needed awareness of the rights of handicapped persons will be brought to America. Nancy joins me in sending our warmest appreciation to you and our congratulations for your humanitarian and civic-minded service. God bless you.
[To Rick] ...I recognized that as good as your story is, the real value in it is making someone like me realize that I didn't default to giving you a fair shake. Even after seeing what you had done with the races, I basically gave that credit to your dad, and I didn't give you the benefit of the doubt to simply assume that you went to college. When it comes to possibilities, Rick, your father made me believe, but you made me understand.
I'm writing to you today just to let you know that you have inspired me. I was injured in Desert Storm back in '91 when I was attempting to disarm a
bomb. It blew up on me and did everything but kill me. I was told I would
never walk again and after over 40 surgeries on my body, I am now training
for my first half Triathlon in June.
I drove up north today to see the Timberman Triathlon. I was hoping for some inspiration to train hard in the upcoming weeks... Quite a few miles out (6 hours into the race) we saw what could be a lone man with his son. We pulled off and sure enough it was them. All alone. No one out cheering, no other runners, bikers. Runners had even finished at this point in time. We were about 50 miles from the course. I can't explain the feeling to you, seeing this sight. We pulled over, jumped out and starting yelling and cheering. I was brought to tears watching them go by. Dick said, 'thank you so much.'
Dick: Yesterday, as I finished just ahead of you in Boston, I had the chance to shake your hand and congratulate you and your son. Congratulating you and your son was easily the highlight of my day and made me reflect on being a father, as I walked back to my hotel room to call my kids. You and your son (your son more-so in my eyes) are an inspiration to more people than you could ever imagine. I wish the best of luck to the both of you in the future, regardless of what paths you may take.