Today, the Virginia General Assembly commended the family of Paul Harris and Chris Nalley in the center aisle of the Virginia General Assembly House.
I wanted to share an article which was written about me in this month\’s issue of The Citizen Chesapeake, which is a local \”good news\” paper. It goes out to thousands of people in Chesapeake, is online, and is also handed out in hundreds of businesses here. It was a great honor to be selected…very humbling.
Join us on Friday, May 4 for the Great Bridge High School J.V. and Varsity soccer games at the G.B. Colon L. Hall Stadium. Want to help out, or make a donation? You can contact Cindy Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jim Williams (email@example.com)
The Paul C. Harris Great Bridge High School Scholarship was started in memory of Paul Harris. He was an incredibly outgoing, athletic and vivacious 18 year old, as well as a lifelong soccer player in Chesapeake. He graduated from Great Bridge High School in June of 2006. During his high schoolcareer, Paul was a player on the G.B.H.S. Junior Varsity and Varsity soccer teams. He valued histeammates, his opponents and those in the stands cheering for him. He was loved by many on and off the field.
This year the event will pit alumni\’s against varsity players. It should be exciting and fun to see!
- Dinner for a $5 donation
- T-shirt for a $10 donation
There will be live music, a DJ, games and awesome drawings! Hope to see you there.
Sunday I met a guy at Harris Teeter grocery store. He and I had a pleasant conversation while he checked me out, about school (he\’s a senior at Great Bridge HS) , about how excited he is to be going to Christopher Newport University for college next fall, and of course, the weather. I asked him about sports and what he does in high school…just \”chatting it up\”.
He told me that the only thing that is bothering him about going to CNU is that he has not received any scholarships yet, so of course I mentioned that we have a scholarship at GBHS and that he should apply. \”Do you mean the Paul Harris Scholarship?\”, he asked. I immediately thought that this is what we have been hoping!! This young man didn\’t know Paul, but he knows about the scholarship and that Paul died and his family and the community give these scholarships in his memory!! He immediately thought of Paul\’s scholarship! It was the first time I ever experienced anything like this. This young man\’s family has only lived here a few years and he isn\’t a part of the soccer community, but still…he knows.
These things don\’t take the pain away, but they give me hope that we are indeed honoring Paul\’s memory by helping kids go to college and keeping his memory alive. I also thought as I was standing there how much I miss my son and how I long to know who he would have become and where he would have finished college.
It is the \”what could have beens\” that are the hardest, but honoring Paul and helping others…well, that takes some of the sting away and gives us hope!
Happy New Year to everyone! We pray that your new year is filled with the love of family, friends, and community and that you will be energized to make a difference in your lives and the lives of others.
We pray for those of us who have lost loved ones, especially for those of us who have lost children. May God comfort us and lead us toward healing. May we celebrate the memories and know that one day we will be together again.
Thank you for loving Paul and for remembering…
Chuck and Cindy
In loving memory of Paul
Join us on Sunday, December 11, 2011 along with other bereaved families, for the Fifteenth Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting.
Visit The Compassionate Friends website to find a service open to the public near you, or light a candle in your home at 7 PM knowing you will be joined by hundreds of thousands of people who are thinking about the children around the world who are gone, but continue to live on in the hearts that they touched.
A Remembrance Book will also be available on The Compassionate Friends\’ website on that day to post a message or tribute. For more information, visit Worldwide Candle Lighting.
Today I have spent some time thinking about the different kinds of parties that our children had growing up. I think especially of Paul because today is his birthday. He always loved having his birthday on Veteran\’s Day because he always had the day off from school. We had birthday parties at home most years because he loved hanging out with his friends and playing games here.
Young Paul loved making his own cakes with me. When he was about 5 we made a rectangular cake, iced it in white, and Paul \”drew\” happy face on it with red decorative icing. Then he set 3 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles right in the cake! It was wonderful and he loved it. Another year he wanted a tiered cake, like those made for weddings. We made 3 tiers, iced them in white and he helped decorate the whole thing in green. These were such fun birthday, baking together and allowing the creative Paul to express himself.
He loved playing in the leaf piles in the backyard, jumping with his friends, cooking hotdog\’s, making hats from newspaper, paper airplanes, and playing traditional birthday party games. One year as a teenager we had an \”away\” party at a paintball park. What a fun year that was…about 10 young teenage boys playing paintball and running around like crazy! I love that he didn\’t buy into the big parties at a theme park or restaurant. He was happiest when we celebrated at home with a large group of kids, hanging out, eating, sometimes sleeping over, just being kids.
The thoughts of Paul\’s birthday parties bring back such sweet memories, as do the thoughts of all our children\’s birthday parties, but his are bittersweet memories, for you see, today he would be 24 years old. He died at 18, less than 2 months before his 19th birthday. Once again, it is the \”what could have beens\” that pain my soul and bring me to my knees as I ask \”why\”? This is a question that will never be answered here on earth. I pray that he is celebrating, maybe with other loved ones who have passed away and that he knows that we love him always.
We honor Paul\’s birthday today by giving a gift to the YMCA Urban services program, \”Escape to the Arts\” to help children experience summer camp for the arts. We hope that our gift will bring joy to other children, that they will grow up with sweet memories of being a kid and loving life!
Dear Family and Friends,
I want to remind you that Saturday, October 1st the first Virginia Transplant Games will be held in Richmond, Virginia. A friend of ours, Rhonda Day is a writer for several web sites in the Richmond area. She wrote this article about Paul (quite a surprise for us!) and is serving as a volunteer to help spread the word about donation and the Transplant Games. I encourage you to spread the word about the games and to come out for them if possible. It should be a day to remember!
37 Days to the first ever Donate Life Virginia Transplant Games, the first statewide transplant games in the United States! The games are on Saturday, October 1, 2011! We want you to be a part of this inaugural event and don’t want you to miss out! There are many ways that you can participate:
- You can participate as an athlete! If you are a organ, eye, tissue or bone marrow transplant recipient or a living donor, you can register to participate as an athlete in the games. You don’t have to be an athlete to participate. There are events for everyone to participate in, regardless of your abilities. Register today at www.VirginiaTransplantGames.org! There are only 10 days left to register! Cost to participate is only $25. Registration ends September 1!
- You can run/walk in the 5K! The 5K is open to everyone, including the general public! Come out and show your support for organ, eye and tissue donation by running/walking in the 5K. Cost is only $25 to participate in the 5K and it is a family, friendly event! To register for the 5K, go to www.VirginiaTransplantGames.org! There are only 10 days left to register! Encourage your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and anyone else you know to register for the 5K. This is a great opportunity to pull together your own group to participate!
- You can volunteer! There are numerous opportunities for you to help out at the games as a volunteer. To register as a volunteer, go to http://www.virginiatransplantgames.org/sign-up and fill out the volunteer form at the bottom of the page.
- You can come as a spectator and cheer on the transplant recipients and living donors! In order to come as a spectator, please obtain your free tickets on the home page of www.VirginiaTransplantGames.org! There will also be special activities throughout the day honoring the donors and their families.
A couple of additional items for you to be aware of:
- Donate Life Virginia just launched the 2011 Virginia Transplant Games web store! Visit the store at http://www.co-store.com/VATG to purchase t-shirts, hats, polo shirts and tumblers as a keepsake and to promote the games!
- “Like” the 2011 Virginia Transplant Games facebook page to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings of the Virginia Transplant Games. Visit www.facebook.com/VATransplantGames!
If you have any questions regarding the 2011 Virginia Transplant Games, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to seeing each of you, your family, and your friends at the Virginia Transplant Games!
Chair, 2011 Virginia Transplant Games
The 2nd Annual Great Bridge High School Alumni Game was a huge success!! We had 18 alumni come out to play with the varsity players last Saturday night, April 9th. The guys play hard and the alumni beat the varsity 2-1. The alumnis wore forest green T-shirts with orange letters \”Paul\’s Team\” on the front and their numbers on the back. We inadvertently left Paul\’s number \”13\” on one (the number 13 was retired after Paul\’s death) and Eric Messmore wore the shirt proudly! The announcer noted that it was like Paul was playing on the field again. In fact, we decided that the number \”13\” should always be a part of the alumni game.
The attendance was wonderful, despite the cold weather, and the crowd was enthusiastic. Two little tykes teams played a game on the \”big kids field\” at half time. It was truly a highlight of the game. There were many who teared up when we saw Paul\’s niece, Ella on the soccer field running and playing her little heart out, just as her Aunt Hillary, her Mommy Emily, and her Uncle Paul have done many times in the past. It was such a great feeling to see her out there running and having fun as a new soccer player!
Donations were great and the feelings of enthusiasm were palpable. The Alumni Game brought in $1148, which is 4 times the amount we raised last year at the 1st alumni game! The icing on the cake for the weekend was the Chili\’s Restaurant \”Give Back\” days. There was good attendance at the restaurant over the weekend and hopefully we will receive a nice donation from this fundraiser.
Now…on to the May 10 event: The 5th Annual Paul C. Harris Great Bridge High School Scholarship Fundraiser soccer game and fun night!