By Greg Niemi . February 11, 2015

Please excuse that I have been a little quiet this past month (all has been for good reason).  Plus I know I may not have even been missed because we’re all as busy as can be moving at warp speed into our New Year.

I ask that you just take a moment to pause to READ THIS: MY TRIBUTE TO LOVE AND STRENGTH into this New Year.  This is worth the read – I promise.

Those who read my blog know I have been writing stories about my friend Richard and our fundraising efforts to help Richard and his family.  What many of you may not know is Richard is now in a much better place, and that is okay.

Richard passed away about a week before the benefit we planned.  Of course we chose to proceed full speed ahead with the benefit, which was a huge success.  The benefit turned out to be more of a gathering than a fundraiser, yet we raised plenty of funds too.

We shared lots of stories about Richard.  He impacted so many lives – a whole lot of lives.  And I wanted to share a story with you to do my best to give you the gift of an image of Richard.

Those that knew Richard first knew him for his bravado.  He was the size of Paul Bunyan and maybe Babe the blue ox all combined.  Hard to believe a man so strong could go before us.  But that is what cancer can do.

For those of you who knew Richard, if I asked you to think of a favorite gesture or pose of his, you’d conjure up an image of him in a body building pose like Hans and Franz or Arnold S.  Or he’d be pulling up his sleeve to flex and showoff his massive bicep.  Or another pose would be embracing you in a huge hug you would never forget.  All are images of strength and love.

My favorite pose of all, is when he’d outstretch is left arm and point his hands towards the heaven.  His wife Diane referred to this as solar man.  To me this pose reminded me more of Gaston (the famous Disney character from Beauty and The Beast).Happy Valentine's Day

Like Gaston, Richard was huge, handsome and larger than life.  A character that is full of strength and love.  He was somewhat arrogant plus could be a bit of an antagonist who liked to spar and stir things up to see what you are made of.

He changed a lot of lives because of his shoot straight approach.  Please know that he did from all the stories which have been shared with me.

Richard, like Gaston, was very goal orientated.  He was the master of his craft.  His goal was to be the best regional sales professional.  In a way, like Gaston, his goals were to defeat the beast (whatever the challenge or competition may be) and to pursue his Bella, his girl of his dreams.

Richard got his Bella.  His Lady Di, his wife Diane.  He also had 3 wonderful daughters Elizabeth, Micailly and Nicole.  Four sisters Ann, Mary, Bobbie and Susie plus his brother Peter too.  And all of us in his circle of family and friends and coworkers thought we were Richard’s favorite.  That is how he made you feel.

If you ever met him you would never forget him and I know this to be a fact.  I am blown away by the support that came from every corner of this earth.  He made an impact bigger than I had ever known, and I must admit I am humbled by it.

So my toast for Richard is for all of his love and strength.  He truly lived his life fully, and we are so grateful he allowed us to be part of it.  It was one heck of a ride.  Thank you, Richard.

And this tribute is also to all of you who took the time to read this blog.  My toast, and wish for you, is for great love and strength throughout this year and your lifetime.  Let’s all make a difference while we are here.

If you are reading this in a social media site kindly press “share” to play forward this same toast to all in your network.  Thank you.

My best to all of you with love and strength.  SISU !!!

Greg Niemi

p.s., Happy Valentine’s Day

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