This is a blog Post that my brother Mark Soto who is the Director for the Honor Group posted earlier today. I hope it is an encouragement to you!
FAVOR, HONESTY AND FAITH – Yesterday was one of those pinch myself days. One of those days where when you look back and you can’t believe it happened. But it did!!
Last year – this time I sat with two of my favorite friends Rick Sutter and Patty Schumacher, a new nonprofit organization, a new board, we had no money, but we had a BIG dream and a goal. Due to different missions and goals we found ourselves starting over. Many times we thought about giving up, but the passion kept burning.
Honestly, I lost count of how many times (my Mr. positive self) had quietly said to God, “I can’t do this anymore. It would be so easy to give up!” I would ask God to remove the fire in me, but he burned it more. We kept praying, our wives/families supported, close friends kept pushing and we moved forward. Yesterday, afternoon it all came full circle and this morning I sit in my hotel room still pinching….. I share this blog to encourage you and to bring hope.
Weeks ago I was invited by my friend who is the leader of the CIF San Diego to join him at a lunch meeting. I had no idea what this meeting was about but I knew if he invited me than I should try and go. So after careful planning to make the trip expense meaningful, I hopped a plane and joined him in San Diego at the lunch meeting. I had no idea what to expect, but when we walked in the room we were surrounded by the who’s who of the San Diego Sports world. Sitting next to me was former NBA athlete, Bill Walton. San Diego Chargers G/M, Tom Telesco and many other San Diego business executives, television personalities and collegiate sports leaders. I think the highlight for me was sitting near San Diego Padres Owner, Ron Fowler (more on meeting him a bit later).
During the heart of the meeting I had no idea that a key speaker was my CIF friend. When it was his time to give his report he stood up and gave his report to the room. He talked about high school sports around San Diego, the recent fires repercussion and how they were moving forward to complete the school year. In his summary he looked over at me and told the influential crowd. “I want to introduce you to someone.” He then told the group about who I was and went on for about three minutes about the military veteran mission behind the Honor Group and The Honor Bowl. I couldn’t believe it! This was totally unexpected and caught me completely off guard. But here he was the leader of the San Diego CIF glowing about what The Honor Group does and how we are changing students, coaches and community’s lives. I was blown away…. I am still blown away. Afterwards the room applauded!! I found myself welling up but I held it back – GODS FAVOR!!
After he was done, he sat down and patted me on the shoulder and winked. All I could do was whisper thank you! After the meeting adjourned I walked over to the San Diego Padres owner, Ron Fowler. I had to tell this man how much I love what he does in the San Diego community to support military veterans and first responders. Mr. Fowler thanked me back! It was a great joy for me to meet him. We exchanged cards.
Since last year this time we are preparing to donate our 7th Action Track Chair to a wounded military veteran. This Friday, a Flag pole is being dedicated in the name of The Honor Group at Arden Fair Mall – Sacramento, and at the end of summer we are putting on one of the largest high school football showcases in the nation. Twenty high schools from 4 western states will be coming together to play in honor of our wounded warriors and military veterans. All of the games will be live streamed and the San Diego games will be televised in H/D throughout the southwestern United States.
I guess the moral of this whole story is that God sees our struggles and knows our hearts. God does not say it will be easy, but he does say that he will walk with you. When we are in his will he will opens the doors and paves the way. When we get down and it feels like we have no more energy to make it God is silently fighting our battles. HAVE FAITH and BELIEVE!!
Love you all and your friend, ~Coach