Michaela Beechem

Dear Mom,

Thank you for all the hard work you have put into raising my brother and me. You, of all women, should always be appreciated for your hard work. I will always look up to you and will always aspire to be just like you. Thank you for the woman you have taught me to be.

Ever since dad died when I was ten and Caleb, my brother, was eight you stood by our sides and taught us how to deal with grief for the very first time in our lives. You became so strong in a situation that was devastating for all of us, but most devastating for you. You lost your best friend, lover, and soul mate. No one could ever replace dad, but you helped us heal and continue to hold a special place in our hearts for the memories of him.

Throughout high school you dealt with all the crazy, stupid situations Caleb and I put you through. Thank you for never giving up on us and always being the best cheerleader! I want you to know through those tough adolescent years I never hated you. I needed to find who I was and hated the fact that I couldn’t be like you! To everyone you are this strong, confident, smart woman who people turn to. Through the fights we’ve had throughout the years I found who I was, but I couldn’t have done it without you. As your daughter, I found the many similarities between our personalities and cherish them close to my heart, because you are an amazing woman and part of you runs through my veins.

As a nurse people put their trust in you to care for there loved ones whether it was healing them, comforting them, or just talking to them. Those families trusted that you would be there for their family member. Without a doubt in my mind I know you were there with patients and you gave them a piece of you. You care for everyone regardless of his or her backgrounds.

Then, last year after seeing me off to college at Northern Kentucky University you had to make the tough decision of cutting ties with me. Instead, you had to stop your life in order to take care of my little brother. He needs your strength and guidance to help him through his last years of high school just like I did. I understand that you had to move to Oregon in order to care for his health problems of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. I know leaving me behind was one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to do and probably never dreamed you would have to do. I admire your strength and drive to drop everything you knew and go out to this foreign land and begin a new life on your own just for Caleb.

These are just some of the reasons why you are inspirational, mom. I could go on for many more pages. Through all the fights, soccer games, plays, recitals, softball games, laughter, tears, and memories you are still my mom and best friend. Jack Dawson said in our favorite movie, Titanic, “You learn to take life as it comes at you… to make each day count.” You do that, mom. You do it every day and have taught me so much in my life. I love you, mom! I am so thankful to have you in my life as my role model! Thank you!

Love always,

Michaela Star Beechem

Christopher Hammond

This fast, never-ending, exciting, beautiful thrill ride we call life is what keeps me inspired. I am inspired by the idea of completing the challenge of college, and closing yet another chapter of my life. My life, friends, family, and the ideology of creating a family with love like the one I have now inspires me daily. The ideas of making a difference in the lives of others who are not near as fortunate as I am is something that inspires me. In the future I would love to one day be able to build a boxing gym that is free to the kids in the city of Cincinnati. A lot of my inspiration comes from ideas of being an individual, the ones who dare to be different, the ones who don’t conform to society, the ones who view their life as art.

I am extremely inspired by my grandparents and thank them for truly making me a better person, and dream of the days that I can repay them. My mother inspires me, and I’m also inspired by the fact that she raised me as a single parent, which is quite the task. Public figures, athletes, musicians, and all who strive for greatness inspire me. From musicians who can paint the perfect pictures that influence millions, to undefeated athletes like Floyd Mayweather who are just simply the best. I am inspired by those who over come the odds, success stories of those who don’t come from good neighborhoods, or might not have the best family life but still manage to make every thing work.

When looking at the past I am inspired to keep working by how far I have came to get to this point in my life, all of the little things I have in my apartment, my car, my life, and my health. I am inspired by my own American Dream, and by the idea of reaching true financial freedom, possibly being able one day to provide for my whole family. Most importantly of all, I am inspired by the thought of one day living for something greater than myself. I stay inspired by all of the life that I see around me!

Arturo Minera

We’ve all seen how music can inspire people and yes, I mean seen. Think of that movie you love where the protagonist is distraught, defeated, tired, or having an internal conflict that requires him/her to sit down and for the camera to take lots and lots of different angled shots to convince you this guy’s down in the dumps. All of a sudden, the song that was probably already there whispering softly within your speakers begins to speak a little louder with its very well orchestrated voice, urging not just you, but your hero to look up, or look to the side, or look anywhere but down because he/she just realized they can overcome this. Now notice, in these moments, maybe not particularly like the one I gave as an example but something very similar, the protagonist who was having this conflict within himself/herself was not inspired by the music you heard, they probably didn’t actually hear it. You did. And yeah you were inspired by what he/she does later to save the princess or rescue the President, but when you have a rough day at school or work, or get into a fight with your significant other or your parents… you already know what I’m going to say right?
It’s music. That moment we see in our favorite films, commercials, homemade videos… those moments can inspire us to resolve a problem that we just saw a guy resolving and most of the time you’ll find when you’re in a situation similar to theirs, there is also music playing on your radio, your Android, your iPhone, your computer, your whatever you have. When you’re coping with something difficult, anxious about results of any kind, having an internal or external conflict of your own, there’s a sweet sound that comes around right before you come to your conclusions, your decisions, your results. The song will vary from genre to genre, but one thing stays true to all situations; having that perfect song play at that perfect moment inspires you to carry on.

It does to me at least. Maybe I’m wrong about music inspiring you. And it’s true that a majority of the time it’s more so the people that you’re with or that you’re thinking of that inspire you to get up and move. Perhaps the music was there by coincidence, and people truly are great! But as for me…

See I’m not the best with words. In fact, for as long as I can remember, I never really was. Growing up, I’d get in trouble with friends or family by speaking out of line or boldly about something that maybe could’ve been explained in a lighter, sweeter, more respectful way. When I realized how bad it was, I started to just avoid speaking my mind about anything. No opinions. No defending rumors that might spread about me. Nothing. I avoided using my voice to show people who I am and how I feel. It wasn’t until I opened up my box labeled, “stuff” upon moving to my dads my freshman year of college that I stumbled upon the masterpiece of Martin O’ Donnell and Michael Salvatori given to me so many years ago in the seventh grade by my friend, Jacob Kendrick. The Halo 2, Vol. 1 Soundtrack. From then on, having those instrumental tracks there to remind me of those moments where my heroes had to humble themselves, be the bigger person, respect others and sometimes assertively approach a situation with all the right intentions is what made me want to do the same. Music inspires the best out of me by reminding me of all the people or even fictional characters that I want to model in my own way, with my own character and personality. I’ve found that what inspires me are those songs that generate an emotion with little to no words. The music helps me listen to my thoughts, to all my emotions with no distractions. It inspires me to stand up, lift my head up, and fill in this epic instrumental piece called life I’m playing with my own words. Confidently, inspired.

Celina Junker

My mother is one of the most inspiring people I know. Throughout my life, she has been my greatest encourager as well as my biggest inspiration. She encouraged my artistic leanings, gave me wise words about sex, and much more.

One of my most vivid memories of my mother happened on a rainy day on the way to IKEA. We were stuck in traffic, and some blurb about sex came on the radio. My mother sighed and looking away from me, told me this: “Celina, never believe a boy when he tells you he needs sex. That’s why God gave them hands.” Although rightfully hilarious at the time, this little tidbit of knowledge has served me well over the years. I’ve never felt obligated to have sex with anyone, and I think what my mother said has helped me develop mature, healthy relationships.

My mother also inspires me to follow my dreams, as hokey as that sounds. Even as a young child, my mother took me to the library and let me check out as many “how to draw” books as I wanted. When I was frustrated with a drawings, she would give me honest criticism and encourage me to keep going. Even now, as a freshman in college, my mother encourages me to follow what makes me happy (art), and not arbitrary “in-demand careers”.

In short, I am extremely blessed to have been raised by such a kind and supportive woman.

Megan Cooper

When a person asks who inspires me, a thousand different people run through my mind but there is always one that stands out beyond the rest. My cousin, Lance Corporal Garrett Gamble, inspires me beyond words. Trying to write down exactly how he inspires me is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in a really long time, so here’s my best attempt.

Garrett was brave, smart, funny, and the type of person I wanted to be. He had an infectious laughter and the ability to make any crazy idea seem like a good one. Being the brave guy he was he joined the Marines right out of high school and was deployed to Afghanistan in the fall of 2009. On March 11th, 2010 just thirty days before he was supposed to return home, Garrett stepped on an IED and was killed. I had just turned 18 and was getting ready for high school graduation when Garrett died. His death hit me like a ton of bricks and made me realize just how short life truly is. In that moment I asked myself if I died right then if I would be proud of the person I was. The answer to that was no. I was a rebellious, withdrawn teenager with a chip on my shoulder. I thought the world was out to get me and took my friends and family for granted. So on that day I promised myself to change the path I was headed down.

Changing who I was wasn’t an easy task and it’s still something I have to work on every day but thinking of Garrett helps me through the tough days and since then I have become a completely different person. I used to be conniving, deceitful, I took everything and everyone in my life for granted. My reality check made me realize none of those things made for a happy life, so I changed. I started to put others before myself, I’ve become a great friend to others, and I have rebuilt my relationship with my family. I go out of my way to do nice things for complete strangers without asking for anything in return. I recognize the amazing opportunities I have been presented with and take full advantage knowing that Garrett would be so proud of me.

Garrett is not just an inspiration to me, but to so many others. His life and his death have touched thousands of people, some he never even knew. He’s from Sugarland, Texas and there are countless memorials to him. He has a park, hockey rink, baseball field, March 26th is Garrett Gamble day in Texas, and he was honored during a session in congress. His life made a difference to so many people, and we will forever be grateful that we were lucky enough to know the kid with the giant smile.