I met Gwen a few years ago through the Cox Mill High School football program and Foundation. We worked together while trying to organize and rally the school parents and staff to help build a new track that would be able to sustain track meets as well as a new turf for sports. While this was our main focus, I began to learn more about Gwen. I was amazed then and continue to be amazed at her level of energy and the fortitude she displays in everything she does and everyone she helps. She was helping the school not just because of her son who plays football, but because she saw a need and knew that she could provide her experience as a volunteer.
I soon found out about Gwen's other passion, Amazing Grace Advocacy (http://www.amazingraceadvocacy.com/). She is such an amazing person herself, yet she deflects any attention her way towards her efforts in helping other families and children with special needs. She adopted two children from an unsatisfactory foster care situation. After the adoption, she found out there was more to the story of her children than she was told. But, that didn't stop her from continuing to love those children and do everything she could to keep the brother and sister together. It's been a tough road when someone else may have walked away, but not Gwen. Her husband, Kurt, plays an instrumental role in making life work for their family. They truly are normal, every-day parents, with extraordinary abilities to help their children, friends, and family above-and beyond.
In addition to her own Foundation, Gwen participates with the local counties in assisting with consultation and advocacy needs as appropriate. I don't know much about this side of Gwen's contributions, but I know she's traveled to Raleigh, NC, many times to speak on behalf of those in need.
Gwen just amazes me. I'm in my 50's and have had a relatively easy life, I've got kids that struggled with learning disabilities and just normal teenage angst and I've struggled to keep the faith that all will work out. I look at Gwen and I say, of course, it will work out! How can it not? She is a tiny lady with a huge heart and unending compassion and dedication to everyone she meets. Without hesitation, I can tell you that she inspires me and many other parents.
Gwen has established a small Foundation, she uses all donations to support the needs of the Foundation. This past Christmas we held a party to donate items such as paper, colored pencils, and other items that would help the children of her Foundation create holiday cards to sell for more funding opportunities. An influx of $50,000 would overwhelm her and allow her to continue her dream, as noted on her website, "My hope is to make a path for children, to receive the help needed; in order to live happy, purposeful lives. For their families to have the support and guidance needed when parenting a child that needs extra love and care."
I truly hope you take the time to view Gwen's website and learn more about all that she works on endlessly. She is an amazing woman and a true inspiration. Again, I want to include her husband, Kurt, in these praises because all that Gwen does wouldn't be possible without the unending devotion of her husband, a.k.a PT (inside joke), sole-mate, and love of her life! I would love to share photos of the kids creating the Christmas/Holiday cards, but Gwen doesn't know I'm submitting this and I don't feel comfortable sharing photos without her consent. I've posted a picture of Gwen, her logo, and her tagline. Visit her website at http://www.amazingraceadvocacy.com/home.html to learn more. I truly hope you take a moment from the many nominations you receive and truly look at all Gwen has done and continues to do. Thanks!