My college years were a period of enormous personal growth for me. Not only was I starting the foundation for what would later become my future career, but I was also faced with the decision of what type of person I wanted to become both personally and professionally. While this transition into adulthood wasn’t easy, my journey into adulthood would have been significantly more difficult had I never met Dawn. Dawn was not only a dear friend, but is one of my greatest mentors in life.
Dawn’s impact shaped the person I became and changed not only the way I viewed my relationships, but also how I viewed myself and my capabilities. She taught me so many life lessons, the greatest life lesson being the meaning and the importance of dedication and sacrifice.
Dawn was someone that never gave up on me. She was a supporter, teacher, a mentor, and a friend. She was present for all of my achievements and successes in life, and more importantly, was there through all my mistakes and failures. She guided me and encouraged me, which gave me the confidence to try again and never give up.
Toward the end of our 13 year friendship, before Dawn passed away from a long battle with cancer, we had a discussion about what she had meant to me. She responded with the story “eggs and bacon”. She said in life that we all have chickens and pigs. While both these animals make sacrifices to provide for us, their sacrifices are not measured equally. From the chicken sacrifice comes the egg, which is great, but not close to the sacrifice that the pig gives in order to provide us with bacon.
She told me that we all have plenty of eggs in our life, but it is the sacrifice of bacon that allows us to see the full potential of what we can truly give in life. Great sacrifice comes not only from our small efforts, but from every part of who we are. When we are making a conscious effort to give from our mind, body, and spirit, we are sacrificing at our full potential.
Even though Dawn passed away some time ago, her sacrifice serves as a daily inspiration to the type of person I not only want to be, but choose to be on a day to day basis. Her sacrifice has made me a better person, spouse, parent, and employee because it made me realize that how much we give ultimately determines the impact and reputation we leave on our community.
Shanda McClaren | Area Director of Central Services