Sunday morning the streets of the upper valley of El Paso swelled with runners and walkers, young and old alike, on a quest to finish the course and make a difference in the lives of others. Over 7,300 runners participated in the “B Strong: Branden Aboud Run Walk.” The money raised by this event this year will put new shoes on the feet of needy children, will provide scholarships for graduates of El Paso high schools, and will provide grants to touch and to change lives.
Gary and Cindi Aboud turned their own personal tragedy into opportunity to be a blessing to others. Their son Braden died in a tragic skiing accident when he was twelve years old. His untimely death broke their hearts in a way that only a parent can know. Yet they discovered that often times God uses broken hearts as channels of blessings to others. Healing of a broken hearts comes by helping others.
Braden’s classmates decided to honor his memory with a run/walk to raise funds for others, and soon the Aboud’s took over this event and transformed it into one of the most significant foundations in the nation targeted at meeting the needs of children. With my own eyes I have seen the smile on the face of a Franklin High graduate who held in her hands a scholarship provide by the vision of the Aboud’s. I have also seen in the paper Gary’s smiling face as he tied the laces of a brand new pair of tennis shoes on the feet of a student who probably could not remember the last time he had a new pair of shoes.
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your faith that is in heaven.” Too often I fear that the followers of Jesus do most of their work behind the safety and isolation of stained glass windows. Gary and Cindi demonstrate that we can often do our best work out in the community as we collaborate and cooperate with boys and girls, men and women who are willing to give of themselves for others.
The Psalmist sang:
“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning..”
The children of El Paso thank God for a family that transformed their weeping into joy by loving others. A family that turned their sorrow into an opportunity to touch and change the world.