In front of an international audience of obstacle racers at the OCR World Championships pre-race dinner, Jesse Bruce of Toronto, Ontario, was presented with the inaugural For Those Who Would OCR Humanitarian Award.
This award, co-sponsored by Mud Run Guide and OCR World Championships, was developed to recognize an individual within the obstacle racing community who consistently exhibits humanitarian traits off of the course. Jesse was nominated for his work with a group of approximately 50 youth from Covenant House in Toronto, an organization that provides shelter and services to homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked, and exploited youth. He invited them weekly to his training facility at Alpha Obstacle Training and through his selfless support and encouragement, prepared them not only for physical challenges but helped them begin to overcome their personal life obstacles.
Before presenting the award, For Those Who Would President, Jeff Cain, told the audience that “We are all obstacle racers, but we are humans first, and thus have a moral obligation to help our fellow men and women.” He then read a letter received from one of the youths that Jesse has worked with this year. The following excerpt typifies the impact Jesse is having.
“I'm very lucky to get to go to 13 Polson St. Toronto, Ontario every Monday of the week for one hour to do something productive & something to help construct myself into a better person, instead of falling victim to the inner city life of drug dealing & organized crime.”
After receiving the award, Jesse’s heartfelt acceptance speech held the attention of all those in attendance. He told of his own struggles as a youth and what it mean to him to be able to affect the lives of troubled youth and steer them toward a path of success instead of self-destruction. It was a very moving moment for many in the room who nodded their heads in silent appreciation for the work that Jesse is doing.
Other award finalists who were recognized included Rose Dey from East Windsor, New Jersey, for her benevolence in taking in a young homeless person; Matty Gregg from Santa Clara, California, for his fundraising efforts for Wounded Warrior Project; and Zackary Paben from Black Mountain, North Carolina for his work with More Heart than Scars.
After the ceremony, Cain stated that this award accomplished exactly what it was meant to do: recognize an athlete who is making meaningful impact off the course; highlight the good works that are being done by members of the OCR community, and inspire other athletes to take up their own cause of helping those in need. The nomination process for next years For Those Who Would OCR Humanitarian Award will be announced in early 2016.
For Those Who Would is a certified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity based in Richmond, KY. Founded within the OCR community, For Those Who Would supports individuals prevented from participating in athletic and physical recreational activities due to debilitating injuries or chronic diseases. For more information, visit: http://forthosewhowould.org