Blog: Today I met my hero (03/03/22)

Kim, Travis and Mike Burkhart. I LOVE these people, and not just because they bought me a calzone.

Today was a very good day. It’s a Wednesday, and Wednesdays tend to be busy for me. I usually work on the Shopper, I make lists of what we have and where it’s going in the Friday paper, I might have a city council or a school board meeting, I usually scramble to finish stories or my column and I’m starting Friday’s newspaper so I’m a little ahead of the game.

Today was no different except for the bonus towards the end.

For over a week, I intensely researched and took notes, collected photos, and got to know the Travis Burkhart Foundation.

I had planned to do a story on TBF a few years ago, when I was messaging and emailing TBF secretary (and mom) Kim Burkhart for a story on Tim’s annual event. Tebow for people with special needs. , Night to shine. Completely captivated by this wonderful event (if you don’t know what Night to Shine is, search our website, it will make you want to volunteer to help. If not, you are a monster.), I knew anyone so involved in his success had to be a wonderful person. When Kim suggested a story about the foundation, I was all for it, but then there was Night to Shine to write, then something else and something else and something else. Long story short, I’ve never done it. But I never forgot. At the time, I did no more research than a quick Google search to see what I could find and I remember finding quite a few. Pressed for time, I gave up the search and moved on to the next thing on my endless list.

A few years passed and one day I was at Daviess Community Hospital in Washington receiving infusion therapy. The oncology nurse, Sharon, gave me a gas card to help pay for the 70 miles round trip twice a week that I drove to get my infusions. She couldn’t have known it at the time, but I was rock bottom that week, and a $25 gift card for Casey’s was, to say the least, a welcome thing. Then Sharon approached my chair with a name and phone number written on a piece of paper. “Travis Burkhart Foundation, Kim Burkhart,” he said, and it struck me that I had heard of this name and this foundation before. I remembered Kim and the story of Night to Shine and thought about the coincidence of my world colliding with Burkhart’s world again.

I decided it had to be a sign, and we started talking about creating a story together. We (me, Mike, Kim and Travis Burkhart) spoke on the phone and found them to be warm, kind and sincere in wanting people to know about the foundation so they can help more.

I started researching the foundation, Kim sent me an information book that they give out to people, and I left.

I wanted to meet them in person and get a current picture of the three, so we planned to meet at Goosepond Pizza in Linton on Wednesday, where they insisted on paying for the amazing calzone (shameless take for Goosepond Pizza) I had for dinner there. At that point, after reading so much about Travis and his family, I felt like I knew them well and knew that their hearts were 100% in the game. Doing my research, Travis quickly became my heroes, as well as Kim and Mike. Their example of strength and love in the face of incredible hardship and the way they didn’t question their commitment to turning the horribly negative situation into something positive and pure, certainly making the world a better place, humbles me and restores my faith in humanity.

The results are today’s report. I hope you like it, I enjoyed writing it.

With Travis, it’s his smile and the warmth of his hugs. You never want to let it go, and it smells great too. Her smile literally makes you happy. Despite everything he’s been through, he’s positive, kind and, finally, happy.

The Burkhart family is an antidepressant, and you can’t feel sad or sorry for yourself if you know them. Do yourself a favor and head over to to read the story of their journey. It will make your heart smile, I promise.

Patti is the editor of the Greene County Daily World. She loves to laugh and also loves kittens. She’s a bit weird but has a heart of gold. If you want to share a story or just make a friend, she can be contacted at [email protected]

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