Bob and Ryan met four years ago through our mentoring program. Since then, Bob’s helped Ryan get his boating and driving licenses, and they’ve gone to Red Sox games and ridden along on fire department ladder trucks. They’re even participating in the Spectrum Sleep Out this year in solidarity with youth who are homeless! As Ryan put it, “The past four years have been the best four years of my life, and I couldn’t be any more thankful for you, Bob.”
Each mentoring program nominated one mentor to win Comcast’s Vermont Mentor of the Year. Thanks to your votes, we’re excited to tell you that Bob Wheel and his mentee Ryan received the award for Comcast’s Vermont Mentor of the Year!
We are so excited for Bob and Ryan, and so grateful to you for casting your vote to support them. The celebration was especially wonderful because Bob’s friends and family came, too! It was truly a community effort.
Bob wanted to share this amazing news and his thanks to family and friends, and we’ve posted an excerpt below:
“My good friend Mark Redmond will be quick to tell you that it takes a village to raise a child. I will happily acknowledge that the members of my village have always been very eager to help me to provide my friend Ryan with unique opportunities. Without your generous and gracious support, the past four years would not have been nearly as exciting for Ryan and me.
“So to my daughter Carol, and other members of my family who have treated Ryan as a member of the extended family, thank you. To my many good friends, who have provided spectacular visits to the beach, or top tier tickets to Fenway, thank you!! Or to those who have helped to provide Ryan with an awesome experience with a championship Cannons Baseball season, thank you.
“And to my friends at South Burlington Fire Department who have helped develop Ryan’s sense of respect for public safety and have provided him with experiences that he will forever remember, thank you! To a great friend and their spouse, who hooked Ryan up with a full set of snowboard gear to facilitate our trips to the mountain (even the one when I tore my Achilles tendon), thank you.
“To my good friends Lee Ann Donner and Mark Redmond of Spectrum Youth and Family Services, thank you. Your never-ending support and guidance ensures our success, so again, thank you.
“To Mobius Mentoring and to all of the individuals, corporations, and businesses that support mentoring in Vermont, thank you! Your generosity allows mentoring pairs the opportunity to embark on adventures that may not be possible otherwise.
“To my own mentor and Scoutmaster, Larry O’Keefe, thank you!
“But I really need to thank my mentoring partner Ryan Wallace for a great four years. The rewards in our mentoring relationship are bisynchronous my friend, they go both ways. Mentoring may end at some point, but friendship is for life.
“And to Ryan’s mom, thank you for trusting me with your kid. I know very much how important he is to you, and I appreciate your trust and support.
“So, if you are thinking about being a mentor, but think you don’t have the time, just ask yourself, who mentored you?”
We are so moved by Bob’s words of gratitude, and the words of praise from his community:
As one person put it, “You have been such a strong supporter and a big influence in his life … you’ve always stood tall by his side with such great advice and unconditional love and support.”
Ryan told us, “Bob has made me realize that school is not really a game or a joke anymore. If you want to do something, you’ve got to work for it. He’s worked for everything he has.”
One of Bob’s friends said, “You deserve recognition for showing Ryan that giving back to your own community is what can help heal a broken world.”
We couldn’t agree more! Congratulations to Bob on his well-deserved award for Vermont Mentor of the Year.