A Woman Of Grace

Julia Kadel

Julia Kadel

I believe in serendipity.

So I was having a sad Tuesday—nothing fatal or even particularly meaningful—just the blah’s when I got a Facebook notification from my friend and neighbor Julia Kadel.

Julia and Jeff live around the block from us and their oldest son is best friends with one of our boys. They grew up together. He’s family and we love him.

So just as I was taking a break and reading more bad news about the Middle East over a boring sandwich, I clicked on the Facebook link and saw a link to a video that you can see in this post.

Take a few minutes and watch. I promise you it’s worth it.

Ok, pretty moving wasn’t it? And impressive too.

Julia and Jeff are the founders of The Miracle League, which last year celebrated a decade of ensuring that all children can play baseball regardless of their ability. For over 10 years, the Miracle League Association has made it possible for children all over the country with physical and mental disabilities to achieve the same dream as their healthy peers – to play ball.

The kids play on a cushioned synthetic turf to help prevent injuries, and the league has wheelchair accessible dugouts and a completely flat surface to eliminate any barriers to the wheelchair bound or visually impaired. Thanks to the Kadel family, all kids in our community can play the great game of baseball.

A decade ago, the Kadel’s approached the City Commission with a heartfelt and passionate plea to help them create a Miracle League field in Delray Beach. I was mayor at the time and all of us had tears in our eyes when Julia got done speaking. We gave them some seed money and told them we would love to see the Miracle League build a field at Miller Park. Within months I was throwing out the first pitch. The league has been going strong ever since.

With help from private donors, scores of volunteers and assistance from the county and other groups Julia, Jeff, their kids and others have made it happen and brought joy to children and families that simply cannot be measured.

At the heart of the effort is Julia…always Julia.

She’s filled with passion, boundless energy and goodness. She’s just a beautiful person.

A woman of grace.

I stole that term from the Bethesda Hospital Foundation which recently awarded Julia that coveted honor. How fitting– because she epitomizes the word.

Whenever the chips are down or there is need in this community or beyond, the Kadel’s are there to volunteer. When Tropical Storm Sandy devastated Julia’s native New Jersey, she and her family packed the SUV and drove off to help for weeks at a time. Her giving isn’t passive and it’s not for show. It’s from the heart and she’s an example for all of us.

We talk a lot about being a “village” in Delray but frankly sometimes I open my Facebook app with apprehension because parts of the social media landscape can be a sewer full of lies, garbage, petty complaints, threats and various forms of adult bullying. I ignore it. You should too. But social media more to offer;  it’s filled with good stuff too.

I can connect with my cousin in California, my sister in law in Pittsburgh, my high school friends, my favorite elementary school teacher and people that I have worked with throughout my career and it’s a joy to have even a tenuous connection—to see their kids, their dogs, their vacations etc.

And sometimes on a blah Tuesday, a beautiful soul such as Julia can “tag” you and share a video that will make your heart swell because there are people like her in the world doing really good things for other people. Lord knows there’s enough people doing harm in the world.

Watch the video. Give to the Miracle League. Brighten someone else’s day. It’s easy to make it rain in someone else’s life, but it’s also easy to make others smile and much more meaningful to roll up your sleeves and help those who need you.

Thanks, Julia. You are goodness personified and a community treasure.

Visit http://miracleleaguepalmbeachcounty.com/ for more information or to get involved.

Comments

  1. Jeff,
    Thanks for sharing a lovely and deeply touching video. Julia is an angel.
    With Gratitude,
    Ken

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