In 2007, Joe Donahue, endurance sports activist and client of Splendor Design Group, came into our studio to talk about some business. During our conversation, Joe mentioned that he had been training very hard and actually qualified for the Iron Man Triathlon in Hawaii.
“Some people train their whole lives and never even qualify,” Joe explained. “I’ve made it in my first year!”
It was an amazing accomplishment, and he was brimming with excitement.
He went on to explain all of the costs involved, and how his upcoming journey to Kona would be his first and probably last.
“Last?” I asked.
That didn’t make any sense to me whatsoever.
“It’s so cost prohibitive,” Joe explained. “All the expensive gear and the travel costs…and I don’t have a sponsor.”
“What about American Airlines?” I asked.
I knew that Joe had been an American Airlines employee for about twenty years. Joe went on to explain how he had paid exorbitant fees to get his gear – including his road bicycle – to the recent qualifying race in Florida. It seemed like a pretty frustrating endeavor.
“You need a champion on your side!” I exclaimed. “Get yourself some help!”
But I knew that modest Joe wouldn’t go seeking help from anyone. He just loved to run and loved to race for the personal fulfillment of it all – nothing more. So as soon as he left the studio, I got right to work researching American Airlines’ PR team, human resources directors, and any personnel I thought might have some leverage to help Joe on his quest.
I eventually stumbled across the name of an employee relations director, and sent an email addressed to just about every combination of first name, last name, and first and last initials I could think of. The email explained Joe’s plight, boasted of his loyal service to the company, and pleaded for some assistance to help offset Joe’s expenses.
American Airlines agreed to cover the cost of travel for Joe, his wife, two children and two additional family members! The total cost savings for Joe was probably close to $10,000. While in Hawaii, Joe completed the Iron Man Triathlon race, which is a monumental feat in itself. He has qualified for the race two more times since then, and plans on making his 3rd pilgrimage to Kona later in 2010.
The experience was so inspirational, in fact, that Joe returned to New Jersey and started Brielle Performance Training with partner Joe Slavinski. Joe and Dave hired Splendor to design their website, which you can visit at www.brielleperformancecenter.com.
Splendor is proud of Joe and his crew, and we are happy to have helped him overcome the obstacles he faced and accomplish such an impressive achievement. Go, Joe!