Reflecting on role models for inspiration

Today I visited the Alberta Children’s Hospital, located on the west campus of the University of Calgary. I wore my flight suit, talked with the young patients about my adventures in space, and signed photos for them. I hope it brought them an hour of respite from the treatment programs that they are undergoing. No matter what else would befall me, I had the sense as I left the hospital that my day had already been productive.

I have often visited hospitals and schools in the past. It is something I can easily do to brighten the day of patients and students. But I must admit that on some occasions, I get caught up in the urgencies of the day and just don’t feel like I have the time to drop by. On those kinds of days, I get inspiration from my role models.

Bobby Orr was my hero when I was an impressionable teenager, watching his exploits on the ice. Now that I’m an adult, Bobby serves as a role model for me in times when I need to recalibrate my priorities. He was also a role model for renowned sports journalist Russ Conway who tells a story about visiting a children’s hospital several years ago with Bobby.This story is a classic example of Bobby Orr’s code of personal conduct and of his sense of the true priorities in life. And it is a story that empowers me on those days when I’m overwhelmed with busyness.

Bobby Orr takes time away from his busy work day to greet a family of fans - The Thirsk Family

Bobby Orr takes time away from his busy work day to greet a family of fans – The Thirsk Family

Someone once said that while Bobby Orr was a great hockey player on the ice (in fact, in my opinion, he was the greatest player of all time), he is an even better human being off the ice. So true.

Today was a fulfilling day. This was not my first visit to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. And it certainly won’t be my last.

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