By Jeff Baird, Sunrise Reiki Colorado
The article below was written after last year’s Baird Survival Bags campaign, to help those without a home get off of the streets. This whole movement was started by my son, Alan Baird, a couple of years ago. That year, he helped Terry, a homeless man near his office, by providing him with a Baird Survival Bag loaded with life essentials, including a “success guide” to help get him back on his feet. Last year, we distributed 100 of the bags in downtown Denver. This year, we will be passing out 500 Baird Survival Bags to those in need. For more information, please visit www.bairdsurvivalbags.com. Thank You.
He was a young man, maybe in his early-to-mid 20’s. He looked at a sleeping bag in amazement when we told him it was his if he wanted it. His face was one of shocked surprise and deep, heartfelt gratitude. He had recently lost everything and was now living on the cold, brutal city streets without a sleeping bag. I watched my wife Tami help him as a crowd gathered. Together, they tried to figure out why the sleeping bag wouldn’t roll up correctly. My wife was on her knees in Denver’s Civic Center Park, doing what she has done for me countless times – fixing things. That’s what she does.
Tami would soon discover why the bag wouldn’t roll up. She has helped me in the same way so many times. I thought to myself, “Joe, you’re going to be taken care of and this sleeping bag will help keep you warm. She’ll figure it out for you. You’re in very good hands.” After opening the sleeping bag, she discovered why it wouldn’t roll up. There was a corduroy jacked stuffed at the bottom. Joe thanked us over and over for the warmth. We would give the jacket to another brother without a home. It was a beautiful, sunny Friday in downtown Denver. This unforgettable day would soon turn into a cold night, but would be a little warmer for a guy named Joe.
As I type this the following Tuesday, I am trying my very best to put into words what Baird Survival Bags mean to me. Number one on the list – family. Today is the day after Christmas, and my love for my family has never been stronger than it is right now. I am so blessed to be a part of this gang. My stomach is still sore from all of the good times and laughs that we shared over the last 48 hours. The Baird’s know how to do Christmas right.
My son created this whole movement to help the homeless. And, yes, I believe in a very short period of time, it has become a movement. Alan Baird started working on this years’ campaign just before Thanksgiving. In about a month, he partnered with a backpack manufacturer, gathered countless items that were donated for inclusion in the pack, rounded up volunteers, developed a book of success to help the homeless get back on their feet, made countless phone calls, planned, coordinated and then executed what would be the perfect plan. He did it all while holding down two other jobs. Huh? Yep, that’s what he did.
Am I proud of my son? Proud doesn’t begin to cover all of the emotions that I have for him. He is so damn talented and he’s my hero. I want to be more like him, and he has set the bar so high! I’ll keep planning and keep striving and keep dreaming – just like he does. Yesterday, a dear, family friend said, “Alan Baird makes good guys look bad!”
For years, I have wanted to shout from the top of the mountain – “Look at how awesome my son is!” Whether he was performing at the Hard Rock, blowing the roof off of his high school graduation ceremony with a song he wrote and performed for the occasion, training with Navy Seals, helping so many people with their moves, their painting, their landscaping, their heavy lifting, their Christmas lights or whatever else needed to be done… He is always there to help.
On Christmas Eve, I watched him play with the little ones. Before he left, I pulled him aside and said, “No matter what. You are always the same, humble guy. Don’t change a thing.” As if I needed to say this to him. But, I did anyway. That’s what dads do.
I know we all have 24 hours in a day to work with. But, honest to God, I don’t know how he does all that he does. Batman couldn’t keep up with him. Being Alan Baird is a full-time job. Watching him receive the accolades and so much love, respect and acknowledgment from so many makes me happy at a level I have never felt before in my entire life. That’s Alan for you. That’s what he does. He makes all of us a little better than we were before.
Yesterday, my son-in-law was making jokes about marrying into the Baird family, and how he will never be able to compete with Alan Baird. And, then my daughter, who is my other hero, made a crack about what it was like to be Alan’s sister. But, all of us know how much Alan has been through, how he has survived and how he deserves everything that he is receiving and more. The love in our family runs very deep, and Alan just made those bonds even stronger than they were. He is teaching us to pursue our dreams, always do the right thing and at the very top of his list has always been Family. To him, everything else is a distant second because family always comes first, no matter what.
As I walked down the 16th street mall, I thought about how Alan is giving all of us the opportunity to do what we do best. There was a paralyzed, homeless man in a wheel chair who could not wear socks because of his condition. Tami wrapped a warm sweater around his feet. Mel, another dear family friend, wrapped one of her beautiful handmade scarfs around his neck. My daughter Sarah gave him some water and I gave him some Reiki. It was the ultimate team effort bringing love and comfort to those in need.
Before this remarkable day, I had never had tears well up in my eyes throughout an entire day, and then into the next. They were tears of joy for what we were doing, and the endless joy just kept coming.I also shed tears for what was not being done to help our fellow man.
Priorities are all tangled up and backwards. There’s all of the politics regarding our homeless, and the arguing and the cruelty and the right wing and the left wing and… All of that wasted energy that seems to be so popular these days is just exhausting to me. Thank You Alan for reminding us what really matters – kindness, strength, respect, love, survival and the importance of working together. I published a book a while back called “Messages.” Spoiler Alert – the message of the book is “Love One Another.” These three words can change our world.
When it comes right down to it, there is not a better Christmas present than Love. It really is the most powerful force in the world. On Friday, I saw it in action with my own two eyes. Tuning into the news and watching Team Baird Survival Bags in action was the greatest present I could have ever received. Thank You Alan and Thank You to the countless people who want to be a part of this incredible movement. There is great strength in numbers. God Bless all of You.