The Blue Jackets had finished practice and skated off the ice-tired, inevitably, and ready for a break.
But as one of the players walked out of the rink in his skates, he noticed a father and son who had been watching. The boy was in a wheelchair, wearing his sweater from a previous team. So instead of heading to the locker room, the player stopped to talk. Then, after a few minutes, he offered the awestruck kid more. "Do you want to come on to the ice?" he asked.
Once the player pushed the boy to the ice's edge, though, he realized the wheelchair wouldn't fit through the narrow opening on the bench. He looked back at the boy's father and motioned both hands into the air, silently asking whether it would be OK to lift the boy out.
Go for it, Dad nodded.
And so the energy-sapped athlete picked up his fan and carried him onto the quiet rink, and for 10 minutes, maybe 15, he propped the boy on one of his knees, put puck after puck in front of him, and helped him zing them into the goal.
Afterward, my friend-a Columbus Dispatch reporter who covers the Jackets and witnessed the scene from afar during the early years of the franchise-walked up to the player in the locker room, notebook ready.
But the player insisted the act of kindness not be publicized. "I don't want you to write about that," he said. "That's not why I did it."
And that, my friend said, is who these players are-not the prima-donna pro athletes you might expect, just good guys.
We were having the conversation because I was preparing for an interview with three Blue Jackets wives for this issue. And after talking with them, I'm equally as impressed with the Lady Jackets. The trio I met is an intriguing group of women-smart, thoughtful and funny. Perhaps most impressive is that, despite the fact they're not even from our country, they're engaged in our community.
In a world that can be nasty, Columbus is filled with people like that player and those wives-people who do not simply skate off the ice. They are people who work hard at what they do and have every right to head straight to their own locker room when the day is done. Instead, they engage, without seeking or wanting praise.
Jenni Belford is one of them.
The Bexley mother of four has spent the past several years working diligently to build a camp for ill children so that they can have a smile-inducing, spirit-lifting break from whatever disease ails them, even if it's just for a few days. And she wanted to make sure their parents didn't have to pay a dime for them to do it. So she and her husband donated 200 acres of land-and a significant sum of their own money-to help make it happen.
When I sat down with Jenni to learn about Flying Horse Farms, we both shed a few tears. Her passion for the new camp is clear. And perhaps most impressive, she didn't want us to write about her. We promised not to focus the story solely on her, and we didn't. But wow if Columbus isn't blessed to count this woman one of our own. Also, Cindy Lazarus-former judge, city council president and YWCA president-was so compelled by Flying Horse Farms' mission that she came out of retirement to serve as the camp's CEO. She simply couldn't pass up another chance to make change. It's beyond admirable.
On these pages, you can also read about two exceptional businesswomen who, despite demanding work schedules, are taking the time to do good, too. Victoria's Secret CEO Sharen Turney has, among other things, financially adopted two girls in Sri Lanka left parentless after the tsunami; she writes to them once a month and has visited six times. And Tami Longaberger, CEO of basket giant The Longaberger Company, helps run a program that offers leadership and training skills to women in the Middle East.
This issue is also packed with glamour, from a super-plush home (this place takes comfy luxury to a whole new level) to stunning fashions (if this doesn't make you want to go to the theater, nothing will!).
But style, as we know, is more than about how you look; it's about how you live. I hope that as you read through this magazine-especially in the spirit of the holidays-you'll be inspired by not only beautiful things, but also beautiful people. I know I am.
-- KRISTY ECKERT, Editor
On another note, we have long been working on our inaugural wedding issue, and we are excited to share it. Capital Style Bride will hit newsstands in January 2011, and your next regular issue of Capital Style will be delivered in March. If you've been to any amazing weddings this year, I encourage you to have the bride submit her info to us for feature consideration. You can submit weddings-or order a complimentary bridal issue-at CapitalStyleBride.com.