UP Catholic 03 31 2017 E Edition Page 7

www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC COMMENTARY March 31, 2017 7 Advertise your business Contact Deacon Steve upc@new.rr.com 1-866-452-5112 TWILIGHT A special issue that deals with end-of-life issues ISSUE DATE MAY 22, 2016 (Ad cut-off = May 9th) Aimed at readers who are exploring the subject of end-of-life issues Timely, service-oriented content to be read and reread for practical tips. COOPER OFFICE EQUIPMENT Full Copier Line From Tabletop To Networkable Digital Laser Systems (906) 228-6929 Phone 800-432-7682 Fax 800-908-8542 Purchase & Lease Options Authorized KONICA Printers-Copiers Dealer Your First Communion & Confirmation Headquarters 1304 Ludington Street 317 N. Lincoln Road Escanaba (906) 786-1524 Westwood Mall Marquette (906) 228-5588 Rosaries + Bibles Prayer Books Statues + Bracelets Sports Medals/Chains 1st Communion Sets Since 1906 I m thumbing through the dictionary to find the true definition of irrele- vant. The words unrelated, unimport- ant and useless surface immediately. Then, I think of David Vobora, named Mr. Irrelevant for being the last player selected in the 2008 NFL player draft. I watched his story on the evening news. It was mesmeriz- ing, unforgettable in so many ways. And, if anything, his story clearly epitomizes what the essence of relevance truly is. Vobora, by anyone's definition, is performing God's work. Away from a church, in a small, old gym outside of downtown Dallas, Vobora spends his hours and days in a circle of men and women, helping one individual after another. Some are in wheelchairs. Others have prosthetic legs or arms stretched out. Some have no legs. Some have no arms. But each has hope, each has a desire to matter. And, it's Vobora who is the ring leader of their renewed optimism. Vobora, once a rookie starter who played four injury-plagued years in the league, runs the Adaptive Training Foun- dation (ATF), a non-profit that works with adaptive athletes and disabled vet- erans for nine weeks. Its single goal is to empower each, build up their confidence and put them in position to harness their body's abilities. Painkillers, used to numb the intense pain he suffered while playing foot- ball, nearly killed him. More than once, Vorbora's addiction to opiates had him contemplating taking his own life. He admitted he needed help. He then suffered through grueling rehab in which he repeatedly threw up and suffered mul- tiple seizures. Yet, somehow, someway, Vobora climbed out of a dark pit. He's the first to admit he prayed a lot during that time, and says that during the third day, he asked God to send an angel. One day at a time, he traveled a bumpy, arduous road to recovery and eventually opened up a for-profit gym for elite ath- letes. He was happy. Yet, when he met a U.S. Army Staff Sar- gent, a quadruple amputee from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, his life changed. He knew he could do more. He began to work with the Army vet- eran and realized rather quickly that he could be a shining star to so many others lost in the darkness. To those he works with, Vobora is that angel. Talk about turning a passion into an incredible profession, one in which you come to work each day, knowing you're making an incredible difference. He says that when he retired, he couldn't stop giving. He motivates, he teaches, he demands and he trains. Today, he has an extensive waiting list. He selects 10 athletes for each nine-week class, which is free, thanks to the support of the non-profit. Each adaptive athlete is assigned a trainer, and together, they design workouts with the end goal to get physically stronger. For many of these soldiers who formed incredible bonds while on missions, they now reconvene in a gym of hope, in a place they clearly belong. It's a mission that Vobora is leading with pride and determination. Hope. We regrettably live in a world that lacks it. We're haunted by fear, brought to our knees by aggression. Hope, though, is a beautiful thing. It's like a tight spiral that lands effortlessly in your hands. When you catch it, it's a feeling like no other. The best thing that I've given these groups is hope, Vobora was recently quoted as saying. Hope is a priceless currency. It's like water. You'll die with- out hope. (Editor's note: LaJoie is a member of St. Paul Parish in Negaunee. He wel- comes reactions to his column at jla- joie@charter.net.) FROM THE SIDELINES Jim LaJoie Mr. Irrelevant is pretty relevant with disabled vets Got Vocation? www.facebook.com/FollowBishopBaraga W hen I was a teen, our family had a 1976 Pinto Squire station wagon. It had the cheesy decals on the sides that mimicked a classic woody automobile - you know, the kind with actual wooden side pan- els that were popular in the 1930s and '40s. Ours also had sporty mag wheels and more importantly a 2.8L V6 engine. One rainy Friday night, my friends and I happened to be driv- ing down a gravel road with a rise known as Thrill Hill. We assessed all our options and decided the best course of action would be to see if we could top the hill and get all four tires off the ground. That little pony car hit a speedy gallop and yes, it could jump quite well. The muddy landing was also quite exciting. We took that car through the wash right before I drove home. The next morning, before my par- ents and I took the car out of town, my dad noticed the cleanliness of the car. I couldn't remember any particular reason it was so clean and off we went. The car ran great until it was time to head back home. Then it was dead as a doorknob. My dad's a pretty good mechanic. So, he popped the hood to see what was amiss. Rocks rained down from its underside as the mud that held them in place let go. And the battery had fallen over sideways with one cable now unattached. He just looked at me and said, You jumped the car last night. I said, Yeah. And that was that. My dad understood. Then he ixed the car. Our Heavenly Father gets it too. He might not like or condone what we've done, but he understands us better than we understand ourselves. Like the Father of the Prodigal Son, he's waiting for us and ready to forgive our transgressions. Psalm 102 says, as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Fatherhood and the family's flying Pinto HERE AM I John Fee

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