Mom with 9 of her biological children and the 4 she has recently adopted as her own!
Last month my 90 year old mother was rescued from a fire in her home by 4 teenage boys. An open letter of thanks I wrote to those boys went viral and they became national news. Today my family hosted their families for Father’s Day and for the first time I got to address them in person. Here is what I said:
Wyatt, Dylan, Seth, Nick, and your families – we want to thank you for accepting our invitation today. This is not an easy crowd to walk into but we all wanted so much to meet all of you. In the midst of a national media frenzy, because I wrote a thank you note, you all have become widely sought after, known, and well loved. We wanted to be clear, that to us, you are more than just a news story. We are aware that the events of Saturday May 18th did not make you the young men that stand before us today. That Saturday night merely revealed what was already there. That was the date that we, the Ritchie family, became the beneficiaries of the character, strength, and bravery that already existed in each of you. You have been shaped and molded by your own life’s challenges, setbacks, milestones, victories, and defeats. For us, your character and choices culminated on that day into a heroic rescue of our beloved mother. Her life of faith and dedication was not to be ended on that day because our God had other plans. Instead she encountered four young men who had practiced courage, perseverance, overcoming obstacles, and bravery so many times before that day that it was second nature on that day for you to display it for her benefit. So, our hope is that you know deep down inside yourselves that the hype and the attention surrounding your choices on May 18th should never overshadow the many ways that you have chosen to be brave, courageous, kind, and compassionate in your lives when nobody was looking. For those are the times that have made you the young men we are deeply indebted to and eternally grateful for.
Since we are celebrating you on Father’s Day I’d like to take a minute to honor each of your fathers who sacrificed their day to be with us as well. I’d also like to tell you about my dad. Our father was a man of few words but of deep honesty and integrity. His work ethic was something he passed down to us by teaching us that we work when it’s easy and we work when it’s hard. He was not a well known man, a famous man, or a man who craved attention or praise. But at his funeral, because he was an honorable man the entire congregation, every single person in attendance, stood and applauded the life he lived. A standing ovation at his funeral. Because of that, our family has adopted the motto “live so the’ll clap.” We use it to remind ourselves and each other that an applause worthy life is about everyday faithfulness, honesty, kindness, integrity, and bravery. I think my father would agree that this is the kind of life you all are choosing. So thank you for living in such a way that allows us, the Ritchie family, to applaud you.
Heroes. Angels. Friends!
Dylan, Nick, Seth, Wyatt and their dads!