To celebrate my one year blog-a-versary I decided to pay it forward. Today I have a very special guest whose journey led him, not to give up or wallow, but instead grab life by the bubble and inspire others to do the same. Please welcome…
Twenty years ago my life was spiraling out of my control. During my prime, I was the editor in chief of my college newspaper, chapter president/state province representative for my fraternity, attended fifteen hours of classes, worked about thirty-five hours a week, was chairman of my College Republican chapter, on the alumni boards for my high school and college, was speakers chairman for college student government, was the youngest member of my state GOP central committee, consulted for political campaigns, raised money for the local summer music festival, and had an active social life. I could do it all; but then, something changed.
Wait, I tell a lie, three things changed.
I was diagnosed with MS, a disease I knew well, after having witnessed my mother battle the condition for years. I was then involved in a nasty car accident which has confined me to a wheelchair. Upon waking up after the accident, I was also told that I had HIV.
Wait, please, I am not looking for pity or for commiserations… why?
These events saved my life. They taught me about life and made me think of my grandmother. She always used to tell me that ‘Adversity Builds Character.’ Man, was she ever right about that.
My new found situation allowed me to take stock of my life, to make the separation between old and new, and to start out as I meant to live on.
While it is a personal tale, I did not write Adversity Builds Character so that I could wallow in self-pity. I did it so that I could help others. Adversity comes in many forms; it is a chameleon which can destroy a man if given a chance. I took several warnings from life before I understood the message I was being sent, the challenge that was being laid before me.
Who knows? Had I listened earlier, things may have gone differently. What happened, happened!
The present and the future are what make life so important. I have faith in the world around me and the world that comes after to understand that I am on the right path. Through my writing, I hope to show others that no matter how tough it gets, life goes on. It doesn’t stop until the very end, and you can either live it, or get dragged along behind.
If Adversity Builds Character helps inspire just one person to stand up for themselves, against themselves, then the process was more than worth it.
Thank you for joining us today on this stage of the Tom Ufert blog tour. We hope that you will join us tomorrow where we visit the home of Alex Laybourne with another guest post written by the author.
Tom Ufert, a 46-year-old quadriplegic afflicted with three different disabilities, is an inspirational voice in our troubled times. He received his bachelor of arts in political science and history as a scholarship recipient from Centenary College of Louisiana.
Tom is a former Rotary International graduate Fellow who attended Australian National University in Canberra, ACT, specializing in East Asian political affairs and was a White House Fellow nominee. He is a former Lyndon Baines Johnson Congressional Intern and constituency aid for two former United States members of Congress. His past services for 11 political campaigns on both sides of the aisle were highly valued by former Louisiana Governor Charles “Buddy” Roemer, Henson Moore the former assistant chief of staff to U.S. Vice President George H.W. Bush, and the present U.S. Trade Ambassador, Ron Kirk.
At age 23 he was the youngest artistic Board Chairman in the United States as head of the Shreveport Summer Music Festival. Mr. Ufert has served as a member of two other 501(c) three charity boards including his beloved fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia as well as the community advisory board for his former rehabilitation hospital. Over the years he has acquired extensive customer service experience in the food and beverage, hotel, insurance, home security, and pharmaceutical industries. Mr. Ufert has served as a member of two other 501(c) three charity boards including his beloved fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia as well as the community advisory board for his former rehabilitation hospital. His professional memberships include Phi Alpha Theta, Sigma Tau Delta, and the Worldwide Who’s Who. In recent years he has worked tirelessly as a volunteer fundraiser for numerous AIDS charities in his community and served briefly as the community affairs liaison for Legacy Founders Cottage. Tom Ufert, a native of Louisiana, now resides in Texas.