Sometimes it’s just obvious that certain people come into our lives for a specific reason. Nine weeks ago, the class I am currently attending started and as customary with any first day of school, we did the standard around the room introductions. It did not take long for any of us to realize there was something special about one Major Kim “Rooster” Rossiter (Proud Marine and rightfully so). He told a joke that was clearly on another plane, we gave him the standard badgering we do every Marine, and he volleyed back by giving us a glimpse of the family man he is outside of “The Corps.” After two minutes, we all had a basic understanding that he and his family have been inspired by their daughter, Ainsley.  In fact, they had recently established two non-profit organizations (Ainsley’s Angels) to inspire others. Rather than attempt to tell Ainsley’s story myself, I will instead refer you to the beautiful story told at the below links:

Ainsley’s Story in Words
Ainsley’s Story in Song and Video

After learning more about Ainsley through conversation and by reading the chapter Rooster wrote in the book One Letter at a Time (Click here to order your copy and be sure to put “Ainsley’s Angels” in your ordering instructions), I knew I wanted to be a part of the Rossiter “Do Loop” (Inspire<–>Be Inspired).  In fact, I returned to class a few days later with a couple of my favorite inspirational t-shirts.  Just as the Rossiter Family and so many others have, I have long been inspired by Team Hoyt and I credit the video of Dick Hoyt pushing his son Rick across the Ironman Kona Finish Line with inspiring me to finish Ironman Austria.  In fact, there were many times when my wife would come in to find me spinning on my trainer with a tear in my eye as I watched the Team Hoyt story repeatedly.  The familiarity and appreciation I had with their cause was another reason I was not going to let this opportunity to learn more about and directly support it pass me by.

A few weeks ago, the opportunity to participate presented itself.  I had the pleasure of serving as one of the “Angels” for Captain Ainsley as she participated in Virginia Beach’s Wicked 10K (An extremely well-run event by the way).  I showed up bright and early and followed the energy that was emanating from the Team Hoyt VB Trailer.  It being a Halloween-themed event, there were plenty of creative costumes worn by “Captains” racing in their “Chariots”, as well as a stable full of “Angels” ready to push.  Though my focus was that of enjoying every minute that I had the privilege of running with “Super Ainsley” and the other two gentlemen adorned in pink capes, headgear, and panties, I was consumed by the smiles and the excitement shared by the children and their supporting cast.  It was clear that this group of friends and families had morphed into a single family; A family dedicated to a philosophy of “Yes You Can” and  living up to what I affectionately refer to as “The Rossiter Metric” –  “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.”  There is just no overlooking the Rossiter Family and the significant role they choose to play in the lives of so many others.  Their metric is far more than words they have hung above the front door in their house.  They truly bring those words to life, while encouraging others to do the same.

Just as Rick entered Dick’s life for a reason, Ainsley joined the Rossiter Family for a reason.  And just as Rick and Ainsley inspired their families, their families inspire countless others, myself included.   Though the wind was in our face for a good portion of the race, when you are teaming with “Super Ainsley”, the Rossiter Family, and Team Hoyt, you can’t help but “Roll with the wind” (a phrase seen and heard throughout the Rossiter Home).  Few people deliberately build a legacy and an even smaller fraction focus on a legacy as noble as I have witnessed of late.

  • Are you purposefully creating breathtaking moments?
  • Are you helping others enjoy their own breathtaking moments?
  • Who are you figuratively pushing that is challenged un propelling themself?

I can personally attest to the fact that Ainsley and the Rossiter Family are continually running up the score on their life metric.  Following their example, I am (re)committed to doing the same.  If you would like to support the cause more directly, please consider the following links as a means of being inspired from afar, volunteering as an “Angel”, and/or making a contribution of your own: