This past weekend was a great reminder for me about why the Birmingham business community is so special.
Kurt Cherry, an 18-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, may have been the biggest Alabama football fan who had never attended a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. That all changed on homecoming weekend when UA partnered with Dream On 3 to give Kurt the trip of a lifetime.
Kurt’s energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and his smile brightens any room that he’s in. He’s an authority on just about any sport--quoting facts and figures from football, baseball, basketball, and hockey--and he also lives with autism, which creates special challenges in his life.
How Sigao and the Birmingham tech community got involved
Dream On 3--think Make-A-Wish but for children with special needs--arranged for Kurt and his caregiver to fly to Birmingham. When our team heard about his trip to see the Crimson Tide take on the Missouri Tigers, we wanted to be a part of making the event even more special for Kurt.
But we weren’t the only ones who wanted to help. Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa and INFLCR provided accommodations for Kurt, his caregiver, and the team from Dream On 3 that accompanied them. In addition, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Vance loaned the team a van for transportation from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa for the weekend. Knight Eady provided an enormous amount of swag--athletic wear and other items--that was waiting in Kurt’s hotel suite upon his arrival.
Even one of our clients, Easter Seals Greater Houston (Texas), wanted to help. Sigao provided Kurt with a top-of-the-line iPad, and the folks at Easter Seals provided an assessment from BridgingApps, that will help Kurt find tools and resources specific to his needs and interests.
The trip of a lifetime
Also, when I tell you that Kurt attended the UA Homecoming game, I’m kind of downplaying it. Kurt and his caregiver, Joe McLean, toured campus on Friday before the game, attended Nick Saban’s weekly radio show (and got to meet him!), and then they were included in the Saturday parade, riding with Jim Gibbs in a 1949 Ford pickup truck.
Kurt’s biggest surprise of the weekend was when Dream On 3 founder and CEO Brandon Lindsey surprised him with sideline passes to the game.
We got to meet Kurt, Joe, Brandon, and the rest of the team from Dream On 3 on Friday afternoon, and it was an amazing experience to spend time with this young man, to see and share his enthusiasm for not just football, but also life in general.
What it means to us
When we say that Sigao’s top priority is people, it’s moments like this that come to mind. We’re grateful for the opportunity to help Kurt in a small way, and also grateful for the wonderful business community we’re a part of. Yes, we all want to make money. That’s what businesses do. But, as this experience reminded us, making money is not everything that a business can or should do.
We have a responsibility to our fellow man, to be good citizens and decent people. And when we do that, we find opportunities like this one.
Watch our video below to hear from our team members about what Sigao's experience helping Kurt's dream come true meant to them.