Gracious Professionalism Beyond the Bot

I am so moved by the selfless actions of team 353, The POBots of Plainview NY (JFK High School). My team, The Bad News Gears (5943) recently attended the Hudson Valley Regional with spirit and determination. We have a new member Anna who is a high functioning Autistic young lady. The Gears worked hard and had a long first day as most young teams do working in the pits until 8 PM. Anna had dropped “Whiskers” a doll to most of us but a coping mechanism for Anna. Anna had braved one regional so far and was enjoying the FIRST community for who they are “Amazing and Kind”. Anna became distraught and retreated, she still did not “lose it” throughout the remainder of the regional although going through a personal tragedy. My wife, the Volunteer Coordinator of the event enlisted the 200+ volunteers to search for Whiskers and mounted a social media campaign to find the doll. 3 days and 11,000 Facebook hits later Colby, the captain of the POBots, 353, responded that he had the doll! Colby explained that he had, in his earlier childhood, had lost a special bear and did not want that to happen to another and vowed to return Whiskers to Anna. Colby had rescued the doll from some nameless team throwing and tossing it in the stands at the regional as he felt the personal connection and took action. I drove down to Long Island to be greeted by the nicest group of students that were generally concerned about one of their peers. I gave Colby one of our famous team jerseys and a thank you card from our team and wished them the best of luck in the upcoming regional. Anna has been reunited with Whiskers and now knows the power of FISRT and it’s members. If I could I would award them with The Chairman’s Award. Additionally, my wife and co-coach proved why she was awarded volunteer of the year at the Hudson Valley regional and was selected as Volunteer Coordinator of the Pits at Championships, Detroit. So, to Colby, Team 353, and all of those of you out there that demonstrate unconditional acts of GP and kindness you are what make FIRST the best organization to spend our time and money on! See you in Detroit!