Wanted to let you guys know how AWESOME Dick's presentation
was. Our offices have been truly buzzing since the
meeting. Everyone is asking me for extra copies of the book
and Ironman videos to share the story with all of the
coworkers who were not at the meeting. I will tell you that
I watched Dick's videos a few times and thought that I was
not going to be emotional during his presentation. Well, I
was wrong. I bawled like a baby, just like everyone else!
We had a number of executives from our parent company in
attendance and they were also blown away by Dick's
presentation. Dick is so humble and the fact that he's been
able to do such extraordinary things out of love for his son
is truly inspirational. What an amazing man!
I've been sitting here brainstorming the past week and
trying to come up with a way to show Dick how much his
presentation meant to all of us, not only in our
professional lives, but personally. To be honest, I am not
sure how we could possibly express our admiration and
respect for Dick. We conducted a post-meeting survey and
people said that we would never be able to top
Dick's presentation. They said that by listening to Dick,
they truly felt that anything was possible.
They said that they would never forget his message and I
believe that's true. Personally, I am in the midst of
training for the Austin Freescale Marathon in February and
when I was running my longest-pre-race run (22 miles)
Saturday after the meeting, I kept picturing Dick's face and
it truly helped keep me going.
Mary Beth Yurko
Guaranty Insurance Services
to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to
pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.
compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.
Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2
miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him
26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a
dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on
the handlebars -- all in the same day.
also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back
mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a
bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame,
what has Rick done for his father? Not much -- except save
love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when
Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth,
leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.
be a vegetable the rest of his life," Dick says doctors told
him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put
him in an institution."
the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's
eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they
took him to the engineering department at Tufts University
and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate.
"No way," Dick says he was told. "There's nothing going on
in his brain."
him a joke," Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns
out a lot was going on in his brain.
up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by
touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was
finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!" And
after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident
and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked
out, "Dad, I want to do that."
Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who
never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son
five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was
handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks."
day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were
running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"
that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with
giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into
such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the
1979 Boston Marathon.
way," Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't
quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair
competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the
massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get
into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon
so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the
somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?"
a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike
since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a
triathlon? Still, Dick tried.
they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour
Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a
25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown
man in a dinghy, don't you think?
Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way," he
says. Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling" he gets
seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and
year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th
Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000
starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992 --
only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you
don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a
guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the
question about it," Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the
Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago
he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that
one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in
such great shape," one doctor told him, "you probably
would've died 15 years ago."
a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.
who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in
Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in
Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give
speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking
race every weekend, including this Father's Day.
night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really
wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.
thing I'd most like," Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the
chair and I push him once."
I just got back from a
trip to Gatlinburg, TN on company business. During these
trips they usually bring on some high powered speaker to
pump us all up and send us on our way. You know the type,
the Brooks Brothers suits, the $150 Tie, etc..
Well this trip was
different. I got to meet a guy named Dick Hoyt. No fancy
Ties or suits, No screaming and jumping up and down with his
fist in the air. But by far the most powerful message I
have ever heard. I won't ruin the video by telling Dick's
story. I can honestly say in 15 years of being sent to
these motivational programs, this is by far the most
touching and influential, I have ever encountered.
Dick and Rick have
competed in over 900 athletic events together, including the
Boston Marathon and the Ironman Triathalon.
Sales Manager for Akzo Nobel Coatings
just wanted to share with you what a tough act you are to
in the process of trying to find a speaker for our upcoming
sales kick-off. It is essentially the same event that Dick
spoke at last year. When I asked my VP what type of speaker
he was looking for, he said without hesitation, “one just
like Dick Hoyt”. Well, as they say, sometimes you have to
kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince. We’ve been kissing a
lot of frogs but have found no Dick Hoyt. There is no other
you this because I hope you know how special you are and
what an impact you make on those you come in contact with.
Trust me; you are a very tough act to follow and have set
the bar so very high.
luck in the marathon! I will be thinking about all of you!
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.
NHL Hockey Great
name is Danya, and my son Zachary is 13 years old. He also
was born with athetoid cerebral palsy. He drives a power
wheelchair and uses an augmentative communication device. He
has attended regular classes at regular schools since first
grade (he did attend a UCP preschool and kindergarten to get
a good start and learn to drive his chair). He is currently
in 7th grade in above average classes getting straight A's.
Needless to say, I am extremely proud of him.
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 Zachary 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.
passion is music. He has already composed several pieces
that his school band has performed, and I'm sure he will
continue to do amazing things as he gets older. So thanks
again, for blazing a trail for all of the families that come
along behind you. You are an inspiration to us all.
I have fond memories of meeting you. Through the dedication
of the 'Hoyt Team' 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.
United States of America
session you held was outstanding and was one of the highest
rated sessions of the Conference. It was not only inspiring,
but it was very emotional as well. After you spoke, many
people came up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed it. I
would say that it is one that will always be remembered.
T. Quinn Spitzer, Jr.
Young President's Conference
On behalf of
the residents of The Center Serving Persons with Mental
Retardation, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart
for joining us as our keynote speaker for our 6th
annual luncheon. Thanks in part to your participation; we
were able to raise an astonishing $250,000 for our
life-changing programs. I might add that is the largest
amount we have ever raised at one of our luncheons.
your amazing story kept our audience spellbound, and
inspired each and every attendee to find their own strength
and hope within. You are not only a wonderful father and
athlete, but a wonderful man and it was such a pleasure
getting to know you on your brief visit to Houston.
Jeffrey F. Smith
Guaranty Insurance Services
Philadelphia Insurance Company
Columbus Life Insurance Company