Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Abruzzo Pushed Boundaries and Inspired Us All.

For adventurer Richard Abruzzo the sky wasn't the limit—it was just the beginning.

Whether he was aloft in a hot air or gas balloon, flirting with his wife Nancy, racing down the mountain, leading a business meeting, pedaling his bike up a mountain trail or across a rural country road, playing with his children, or teaching his friends the joys of scuba diving, Abruzzo used his talents and energy to inspire us.

A remarkable balloonist, businessman, husband, father and brother, Abruzzo spent his life pursuing his dreams, nurturing his family, building a business and serving our community.

Abruzzo often drew upon a well of bravery and courage to tackle obstacles he encountered in pushing the boundaries of his sports and businesses.

He didn’t wait for happiness to find him. In fact, he showed us the importance of cherishing the joys in our own lives. He taught us to appreciate every waking moment.

Blessed with the spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship, Abruzzo planned his expeditions and his races knowing that the thrill was simply taking the journey, not arriving at the destination. Indeed, he seemed happiest not at the end of an adventure, but along the path.

Perhaps it was his consistent belief that he could fly higher and farther, ski quicker and pedal faster, that makes it possible for us all to believe we can confront our own life challenges, achieve happiness, and ultimately success in our own lives.

The warmth of his heart, the strength of his convictions, and the smile on his face are examples for those who survive him.

Like his father Ben Abruzzo, who built the Sandia Tram and opened Sandia Peak Ski Area, all before sailing the skies across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Richard's accomplishments and community leadership will never be forgotten.

It’s clear our lives would be lesser without daring men and women like Abruzzo and his co-pilot Carol Rymer Davis. Each taught us the importance of making the most of life journeys. They knew the risks of their sport, but decided to push the boundaries because it fulfilled their dreams. They each decided not to be just good, but great.

Today we recognize Albuquerque’s son Richard Abruzzo’s legacy and honor his life.

Balloonist Prayer:
The Winds have Welcomed you with softness.
The Sun has blessed you with his warm hands.
You have flown so high and so well
that God has joined you in your laughter
and set you gently back again
into the loving arms of Mother Earth.