The Face of America: Mechelle Lewis, Moving Beyond Your Now

By Tony Mussari & Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright Mussari-Loftus Associates, 2011

I saw the Face of America today. It belonged to woman whose eyes looked deep into my soul.

I saw the Face of America today.  It belonged to a woman whose words spoke to adversity accepted and challenges met.

I saw the Face of America today. It was competent in all the ways that matter, kind in all the ways that help, and caring in all the ways that build bridges to a better tomorrow.

This Face of America knows the pain of disappointment, the anxiety of rejection, and the ecstasy of accomplishment.

This Face of America risked her future on a dream of becoming an Olympian. When the dream became a reality, she represented her country with dignity, class and distinction.

On the day of our meeting, she wasn’t competing. She wasn’t training. She was sharing her story with a room full of people who were determined to honor the legacy of 2d Lt. Emily Perez, the first Black/Hispanic honors graduate of West Point to lose her life in Iraq. They came together to help young women who want to follow Emily’s Way to a better life of service, success and substance.

On this February night at the Army Navy Club in Arlington, Virginia, Mechelle Lewis shared her message of self improvement with these words:

You must move beyond where you are.

If you want to get better at anything surround yourself with the best, a mentor, someone who has done it before.

Rely on emotions and you will experience insecurity.

Rely on faith and you will open the door to miracles. Faith is an action word.

Everything in your now that doesn’t make sense will one day. The question is, “Do you have the strength to keep moving forward?”

See yourself beyond where you are now. See yourself where you want to be. With sacrifice, heart, excellence, and resilience, you can get there.

You can be anybody. You can do anything. It really happened for me. It can really happen for you to.

When Mechelle Lewis finished her speech, she received an enthusiastic and well deserved response from everyone in the room.

I saw the Face of America today in the shadow of our nation’s capital. It was red white and blue and animated by a heart of gold, not Olympic Gold but the gold of compassion, hope, integrity and resilience.

This is a Face of America I will never forget because it made me proud to be an American and grateful to be in the presence of a woman who does America proud every day of her life.

How could it be any different when Mechelle Lewis and Emily Perez stand together to honor America and offer a helping hand to high school students who are learning, growing and experiencing the light of opportunity in the Emily’s Way mentoring program?

Now that’s a beautiful thought for any day.

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