Meeche White one of 49 Unsung Heroes of Compassion in the world
Twenty-five years after founding the National Ability Center (NAC) in Park City, Utah, Meeche White was honored by the Dalai Lama as an Unsung Hero of Compassion last month in San Francisco.
White was present two years ago when Paralympian Chris Waddell received the same honor. This time, it was her turn to meet the Dalai Lama.
“It was truly an honor to have an opportunity to shake the Dalai Lama’s hand,” Meeche said after the event. “He’s an amazing man.”
Meeche, who stepped aside as the CEO of the NAC last fall, was one of two individuals from Park City to be honored. She founded what was known as Park City Handicapped Sports in 1985 with her husband at the time. Their idea was to provide ski lessons to veterans with physical disabilities. That first season they taught 45 lessons. This past season the NAC taught more than 5,000 ski lessons and thousands more in programs like horseback riding, sled hockey, cycling, water skiing and swimming. Thousands of people have had their lives changed for the better through the NAC’s programs and Meeche’s efforts in the last two decades.
Her work was not limited to Utah or even the United States. She took the first ever trip with the Special Olympics ski program to Europe, and helped build other adaptive recreation programs in Thailand, Spain, Italy, Korea, Austria and Chile.
Meeche was one of 49 individuals from 13 countries who were chosen for being highly compassionate.
“These individuals have been selected as representatives of the tens of thousands of people worldwide who quietly serve the disenfranchised and work to improve our communities through their personal efforts,” said event chair Dick Grace, founder of Grace Family Vineyards, Red, White and Snow vintner and board chair of Wisdom in Action, the organization hosting the unique celebration. “We don’t see them or hear about them in the daily news, but they exemplify a humanism and heroism to which we must each aspire.”
Meeche said the event was both humbling and overwhelming.
“Of course meeting with the Dalai Lama is always an amazing experience,” she said. “It’s so overwhelming at the time.”
Now that she has had a chance to look back on the experience, Meeche’s thoughts have shifted to the uniqueness of having been honored by the Dalai Lama while so many people love and honor him.
“It’s very humbling because he’s an amazing man,” she said.
Meeche, you're amazing, too! Congratulations!