The 2013 Albuquerque Half Marathon included a run with a little extra step in these 50 years of life.  It was a “One Medal” race for my honoree “Mr. Jack.”  My connection to him is through his life partner, also my aunt, Paula.

A father of twin sons and a daughter, all are grown and following his work ethic of hard and fulfilling work while maintaining a strong work/life balance.   John is an executive chef working in the restaurant trade, Chris is a former Marine and a foreman in the Iron Workers Union, Kara is a stay-at-home mom.

In addition to two accomplished grandchildren, he took two girls under his wing more than 10 years ago.  They lived in his condominium complex with their single mom.  Today they are growing into brilliant young ladies – 17 & 16 – and are excelling in school and on the basketball court.

A passion of his is reading to young kids and encouraging their curiosity.  One day while sharing stories and developing scientific experiments, the kids and their parents dubbed him “Mr. Jack.”  It is a nickname that sticks to this day.

Many years ago, Mr. Jack was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and is confined to a wheelchair these days.  However, his power chair and wheelchair van allow Paula and him to get out and pursue some of their interests:  food & wine pairing, and the movies.

Both Paula and Mr. Jack’s charity and generosity to family, friends and friends of friends is humbling and inspiring.  Running the Albuquerque Half Marathon for Mr. Jack was an honor and an inspiration.