Beyond an orientation meeting to introduce me to the Countryside YMCA, I was getting ready for our first official public relations planning meeting. I chose a sleeveless fuchsia colored shirt with white pants because that color combination just makes me smile. When I arrived, and walked through her office door, would you believe, there, standing in front of me was Lori Cook, marketing specialist, wearing – yep, a sleeveless fuchsia colored shirt and white pants!
I don’t think either one of us will forget that moment. We burst out in laughter. It is color choice that is most people’s closets, even more so when the fuchsia top is sleeveless! It was pretty telling of future relationship. There are a lot of smiles and laughter when we work together.
Lori just brings that out in people. You tend to just feel happier, energized, when she is around.
Last month I was at the Countryside YMCA for its annual Healthy Kids Triathlon. Hundreds of children dove in the swimming pool before hopping on their bikes and then ending on foot, triumphing in front of cheering adults along the way. In the excitement of it all, I discovered as I was getting ready to leave that I had somehow lost my car keys. This, at the country’s largest YMCA which sprawls vast grounds. I was beside myself and Lori calmly told me she would not leave until I found them. I did end up finding the keys after about a half hour and all was good but I was so touched and so appreciative of her kindness and her patience.
And recently, when she and I connected personally on Facebook, I got to see another side to her. Her humorous spin on what would otherwise be considered every day family occurrences sends me into a chuckle.
It should come as no surprise then, when I asked her recently where her inspiration comes from, and she pointed to her two sons.
“I think it is really cool the way they think and want to care for others,” she told me, sharing these stories:
“My youngest, Benjamin, who is 14, is like the baby whisperer. He works at a nursery at our church and holds crying babies with such patience. Last Sunday my 3-year-old great niece was having a rough weekend and Benjamin dropped everything in his day to take her to the zoo, putting her in front of his own social and academic life. I want to be able to be like that as an adult. I want to be able to say this whatever is not as important as the people I care about.
My other son, Will, is 16 and is all about giving financially. He is the worker who quietly observes his world, and saves his income until something tugs at his heart. Then he gives his money. He was a lifeguard over the summer, picking up every shift he could. He is very structured with his budget so that he can have money to give back.”
I asked Lori what lessons her boys have taught her. Sher answered, “I have learned from them how to be playful, how to love with your heart first, how to be vulnerable, how to fail and be okay with that, and how hard it is to be peaceful. I see their stress from school and life, and I think it is something that needs to be talked about. Life is hard and needs to be addressed and simplified when can be.”