“On this we can all agree, ‘We all want what is best for the kids.’ What exactly that is, isn’t always clear, but our intentions are right and our intentions our pure. The love of children iswhy we do this.” This is what my friend and former employer said to me on the phone as we were attempting to plug a hole in the boys’ regional and nationals training. Liz has gone out of her way to accommodate not only me in my every need, but has time and again stepped up to make our friendship and relationship…beautiful.

Liz read of the loss of my pastels collection, the sacrifice paid to the road gods in the Olympic forest. And, although that occurred nearly 9 months ago, she remembered it. While she was perusing an estate sale she noticed a complete set of artists pastels that were barely used. She snapped them up and presented them to me as a gift. That is the kind person she is.

Over the years I worked for her, occasionally a gymnast’s family would fall on hard times. Rather than see a good kid be kept from gymnastics, she always found a way for the student to continue until their family could get back on their feet. Of course she can’t do this with everyone, she would be out of business. However, when she was able to, she did what she could for peace, for love, and for the children. The alternative, a kid in tears and out of gym, just wasn’t acceptable to her.

Not having children of her own, she has become a aunty to all the children in the gym, and they intern have been there for her when she needed it. Several of the boys and girls showed up in mass to support her appeal to the zoning board hearing. The parents wrote letters, attached springs, and literally put the very floor together to make the gym the premier gymnastic training facility in the bay area. Because they love her too. We are a family.

The loves of her life are gymnastics, her husband Josick, and her dog Maddie. However, as happens, Maddie’s life is coming to its conclusion. I wanted to do something for Liz to say thank you for giving me this month with the boys, and to say thank you for loving me, loving the program, and loving the kids. At times it would have been easier for her to just throw in the towel and let the boys program die like so many gyms have done, but that isn’t who she is. She has, and continues to do everything she can to make all the programs at American Gymnastics thrive.

I wanted to tell her how much I appreciate her, and how much I love her. Following her example, I did what I was able, I did this drawing of her dog Maddie with the pastels that she gave me.

It really is true, the way of peace can accomplish things that were before thought impossible.