The Kenai Peninsula received a visit last week from someone who left the community a better place than it was when he arrived.
A gentleman who didn't come to see the wonders of nature that surround the Peninsula, or to experience the thrill of catching a salmon on the mighty Kenai River, but rather to inspire the qualities of life in mankind that so often remain dormant or are knocked down by discouragement.
Craig MacFarlane has been blind since he was two years old, yet has amassed a list of accomplishments in athletics, music, and adventure sports that would gain world recognition for any sighted individual.
"I started wrestling at age 7 because it was one of the only sports where a blind person can compete on an equal basis with a sighted opponent. I went on as a teen-ager to wrestle internationally on behalf of Canada, then the other sports like water ski-jumping, snow skiing, track and field, and golf sort of branched out from the sport of wrestling," said MacFarlane.
At age 19 MacFarlane moved to the United States to live with former hockey great Gordy Howe and started a speaking career that has taken him to more than 2,000 schools, a number of corporations and civic groups. He now serves as a good will ambassador for Edward Jones Investments traveling globally inspiring people to overcome their challenges and give back to the communities where they live.
"We don't only care about someone's money at Edward Jones, we care about their kids and grandkids, and that's partly my responsibility as a goodwill ambassador," explained MacFarlane, who spoke in Soldotna, Kenai and Homer last week.
MacFarlane attributes much of his success to self-confidence and a great belief in others, especially a trust in those teaching. "We all have days when we say, Why Me? But I think those are the days that build character; those are the days that separate us from everything else. What we do with our down moments often determines how successful we go on to become. If we persevere and don't give up on ourselves, we emerge from it that much further ahead," said MacFarlane.
At 38 years of age, MacFarlane is looking forward and embracing the future, "I love what I do with a great passion, but somewhere down the road I'll probably throw my hat in the political arena and perhaps take a shot at becoming a U.S. Congressmen," said MacFarlane.
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