Monday, December 31, 2012

My 2012

I can't believe today is the last day of 2012! This has been the fastest 366 days of my life and I couldn't have imagined a more productive and action packed year.

January was a very busy month for me as I spent two weeks in the SW part of Missouri. I spent several days in Joplin, which was my first trip back to there since the 2011 tornado, and difference in what I saw from the previous time is something that will stick with me forever.

In February I turned 29 and the sense of time and age hit home when I learned that the person who always took my order at Fortel's had passed away.

A few days later my job title changed from "Community Education Specialist" to "Autism Ambassador." A week after that I put myself in a scary situation in Springfield. Thinking back on this I truly think I got lucky and since then I have been even more vigilant of my surroundings.

And a week after that scary situation I gave my 2nd presentation even to students. I was highly nervous about it and didn't really want to do it (partially because of the fear of speaking to such a group) but the presentation went with flying colors and it sort of set a tone for the year.

March set a tone in terms of how much I was traveling as I headed to Phoenix. However, the day I flew to Phoenix I gave a presentation to 100 teachers in the morning and then gave the keynote at the IDDRC at Washington University. My first race flagging of the season was in Phoenix and during a short break I was able to film this video that announced my nationwide speaking tour:

March had four races spread across the country, but the most memorable event, and I'm going to remember this day for a long time, was March 25th in Nashville. It was a normal race until this happened:     

I had big fears the seconds after this as I was in severe pain and did not know if I had anything broken. The fears weren't about my health at that moment, but whether or not I'd be able to go on my nationwide tour. How awful would it have been had my tour had to be cancelled due to injuries? The good news is that I didn't find out and one week later I was headed to New York City.

Of everything I have done in my life nothing could have prepared me for such an amazing 45 days that my tour was. There were radio interviews, print interviews, and even television interviews.

I could write and write about the tour and post many photos, but all in all it was the most phenomenal 45 days of my life and when it ended I made this video blog:

Later in May I got to do a video blog in a very fantastic place; the flagstand at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This may not sound like an overly exciting thing for you, but for me it was like walking into a sacred place and was one of my highlights of the year.

The tradition of meeting ignorant golfers at least once a year continued in June. I enjoy playing golf and back in March of this year I had a hole in one. However, my interactions with golfers always seems to go quite awry and this happened again in Effingham, Illinois.

A couple days after the angry golfer incident I headed to Jefferson City for the Champions of Mental Health. I was one of the recipients of the award and there was a video about me. The 2nd video here is what I said when I received the award:

July and August had many races across the country. I flagged my first USAC National Midget race as well as a SKUSA race outside Salt Lake City, a USAC .25 race in Indy and North Carolina. Once again though I got a little too close to the action as this picture shows. I want to be known as one of the best flagmen but I'm also known as, "that guy who seems to get hit rather often."

Major things started happening in November with a string of presentations in school in the Southern part of Missouri. I never thought of such a thing; that being speaking to an entire school at once. But Jeri Carr, a coworker at TouchPoint, got it done and I had my largest presentation to date at 857.

A few days after the amazing four days in the Southern part of the state it was time for the SKUSA Supernats in Las Vegas. No matter what the year has brought those five days working that event are always my favorite and once again this year proved to be no different.

Then in December another amazing thing happened. A parent in Chesterton, Indiana had raised the funds to get me to that town and I spoke to every single student 5th grade and up in the Duneland School System. That was over 4,000 people spoken to! The picture shows what turned out to be my largest single presentation with 1,100 people there. In all my life I could never have imagined something like that.

So it was an amazing year to say the least. I probably missed some major stories in this year-in-review but if I were to touch on each amazing place I went to, or talk about each amazing person I met, or each story I heard then this post would have been as long as all my blog posts put together. Anyway, and I'm almost afraid to ask this, what does 2013 have in store? I think I've asked that each year but how could 2013 get any better or bigger? I'm not sure if it can but one thing is for sure; 2012 is a year I will never forget.


  1. Wow Aaron, I look back to just three years ago and you kept asking me is everything going to be OK. Looks like the Lord's got everything under control.

  2. And I'll cherish my signed copy of your book and DVD forever. Thank you Aaron!

    About your experiences: And this is only the beginning... Just imagine what more is to come!