I don’t get star struck with actors or people on the big screen. To me, they were just in the right place at the right time, or born into the right family. Those who have forged their own way and created their own success are the ones that I am in awe of.
Chris Hadfield spoke to a rather small community last night at their Equinox Festival. This was a free event dealing with dark sky and celebrating the fall equinox. Appropriately enough, last night was the equal hour point between daylight and night. Very fitting.
Chris Hadfield is a phenomenal speaker. He chose questions from the audience, and really just focused on the children. I like that. He came off the stage and into the crowd. He asked the names of those asking the questions. All signs of a charismatic leader. He is grounded even though he has done some of the most amazing things of anyone on our planet. I mean, he not only was an astronaut, he was the commander of the International Space Station! You don’t meet someone like that every day.
This man didn’t do all of this for himself. That is what impresses me the most. He knew going up into space that he had the opportunity to do more with it than just be the cool astronaut in space. He found a way to create an interest in students. He performed science experiments requested from those on earth, recorded them and posted them on YouTube for the world to access. He co-wrote a song with one of the members of Barenaked Ladies, recorded it, and distributed it to all the school music programs. Then, once on the ISS, he sang it LIVE with students all over! Amazing.
Back on Earth, Chris Hadfield authored and published several books. Assuming this is an income generator for himself based on his unique experiences, I was sure he was able to retire on his royalties alone. I have even greater respect for this man after learning that all the profits from his books go to designated charities. And he told us what they were. The Red Cross was one of them. He didn’t write those books for himself. He wrote them for us. So we can experience what he experienced through his words and images. And so the money those books made could be put back into community programs where they are needed. An absolutely incredible individual.
But I think I am still in awe of the fact that he came to this small community that probably most of Canada has never heard of. The fact that sitting there right in front, being able to see him so very clearly at an event that I didn’t have to pay any money for. I didn’t even have to pay for parking! This. This is what makes him worthy of awe. He came to a place so very small. For an event they were hoping might draw in maybe 6000 people. And he said yes.
Respect. On so many levels.
So thank you, Chris Hadfield. Thank you for coming to Nowhere Alberta. Thank you for being down to Earth. Thank you for the inspiration and the motivation you provided so many children and adults alike last night. And thank you for being ever so patient and gracious, greeting all those who wanted their 30 seconds to meet you and say hello. Thank you for inspiring our next generation.