Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Paying it Forward - A way of life for author Michele Spry

This is a guest blog post made by Michele Spry, author of Tom T's Hat Rack: A story about paying it forward.
Anyone who knows her, is familiar with Michele Spry's random acts of kindness - often toward complete strangers. She has lived her life paying it forward throughout her community over the past several years. However, when she was inspired by a close friend, Tom Trabue, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in May 2012, it led to her writing her first book. His positive, selfless and courageous behavior during a difficult time in his life has been an inspiration to many others as well.

Tom T's Hat Rack: A story about paying it forward follows 10-year-old Shelby Summers through her summer vacation before entering the fifth grade. Shelby's 4th-grade teacher, who will also be her 5
th-grade teacher next year, gives her students an assignment over summer break. Their task is to write an essay about something they do over the break that will forever change their lives for the better. Although Shelby would not be taking a summer vacation as many of her friends would. Shelby leaves school ready to enjoy her summer break with two of her favorite people while her parents were at work.  Shelby didn’t know she would be experiencing a life-changing event right down the street at the home of Mr. and Mrs. T.

Shelby's retired neighbor Mr. T, who has been battling cancer, recruits her to help him with a special project. Mr. T doesn’t tell Shelby what their project is but explains every step of the way until it is finished. A very patient Shelby returns each day, excited to spend the summer with two of her favorite people. Upon completion, Shelby learns how such a small act of kindness can affect a large number of people and even puts her own touch on this project thus creating her own give back.

Although this book is written for younger audience of children ages 7-12 years, parents will enjoy the message just as much. Michele hopes her readers of all ages are inspired to make a difference in the lives of others. Included in the back of the book are plans to build your own hat rack with the help of an adult encouraging both adults and children to take pride in making something together.

As a Partner in Education, Michele Spry is heavily involved in her community in a variety of ways. She is active in the Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Ambassadors, Women’s Network and recently co-created a program for the University of Missouri Athletics Department called the Mizzou Ambassadors which greets fans/guests at all home games.  In February 2013 the Boone County area received a major snow storm that knocked out power to thousands in central Missouri, Michele recruited several volunteers to help purchase and prepare meals for linemen and other personnel at her local electric cooperative over a 3-day period while they worked around the clock to restore power. If you're ever in the drive-thru line at Starbuck’s in the Columbia, Mo. area, and the person in front of you pays for your coffee, well that just might be Michele Spry. After the shooting in Newtown CT,
Michele wanted to show respect to the 26 lives lost and paid for food and drinks for 26 cars that went through the Starbuck’s drive-thru. The best part of this is that it took 5 cars to go through to get this started as everyone kept paying for the car behind them.

For more information please visit Michele Spry on her webite.
As a side note, everyone that has read Tom T’s Hat Rack wants to know about Mr. T; Michele is happy to announce that as of December 25, 2012 Tom Trabue is cancer-free.

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