You’re cruising down the highway, radio on, not a care in the world, and then, bam! Your life changes in the blink of an eye. Everything slows down to ¼ speed as your car slides along the road, cars swerving to avoid what’s left of yours. What do you do?
If you’re like Karen Mertes, you pray and you make a promise to God. And if you are Karen Mertes, you make a vow to live the rest of her life helping others. And Karen has been doing so ever since that harrowing day, February 7, 2007.
As a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force with many duties and responsibilities to the men and women who served under her, Karen’s cognitive functions were of utmost importance. At first, the initial diagnosis (for the brain) was a concussion. But after going through rehabilitation for other injuries, she returned to her duties. And that’s when they discovered that she had suffered what is known as Permanent Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI.
Her plans to continue serving in the military went astray. But one of the traits a successful warrior needs is the ability to adapt. One might say that God had a plan, an even bigger plan for Karen than she ever dreamed.
In 2010, she founded her non-profit organization, Fulfill Your Destiny. The mission? To help people whose careers have been altered by injury or other unforeseen circumstances through their signature program of awarding Business Builder Grants to local, proven entrepreneurs who have experienced life-changing events and desire to take their businesses to the next level.
Since then, Karen has been able to make a difference in countless lives. For example, one of her more recent recipients of the Business Builder’s Grant was Angela Mickens, owner and founder of NuStart Community Services, LLC.
Angela had a career in social services until her program was de-funded. She took a long look at her life and decided to switch gears. NuStart was designed to be a three-tier service, or the “Trinity”, as she likes to refer to it. Painting, cleaning, and lawn-care/landscaping.
You can take the girl out of social services, but you can’t take the social services out of the girl. So, Angela, being Angela, offers her services on a sliding scale. Her business serves a very under-served portion of the community, the elderly and the single parents with very little income. Some of her lawn-care clients are paying only $5 for each full-service visit!
As you can imagine, a business like that wouldn’t have a whole lot of capital for upgrading their equipment. They were using push-mowers. Push-mowers, in Florida, in the summer. All day long.
Enter Karen’s organization. They were able to buy NuStart a new riding lawnmower. And now?
“Our new riding lawnmower was delivered today; we already used it and it’s perfect! It will cut down our work day by half at least! Now we’re able to help more families. I can’t tell you the volume of calls we get asking for this service, no one being any more or less qualified to receive the service, but we were simply unable to take on as many families because of where we lacked. Now we’re able to take on more jobs, so by us being blessed we can be a blessing! A million thank yous wouldn’t be enough! Thank you again!” ~ Angela Mickens, NuStart Community Services, LLC
This story is one of the many reasons why Becky Fox and the Fox Fitness team elected to partner with Karen and Fulfill Your Destiny for the first quarter of 2017. Becky Fox is a fitness coach and entreprenuer dedicated to helping women get more fit and live healthier lives.
Fox Fitness is all about creating a fitness community where women feel supported and can reach their goals in a non-intimidating environment. This includes giving back to other women in our community by supporting local organizations and helping those in need.
Every quarter, Fox Fitness picks a charity to work with and donate to. For every member who “checks-in” on Facebook, Becky donates a quarter. Over the course of three months, the member check-ins totaled 372, which equals $93. Becky made the executive decision to round up to $100.
Oh, and by the way, for every donation to Fulfill Your Destiny, Karen promises to add 10% from her own pocket, so the total raised, just from check-ins alone will be $110. But that’s not all.
Fox Fitness also hosts a free community workout each quarter with 100% of any donations raised going straight to the charity. On Saturday, February 18th, 2017 – 10 years and 11 days from that fateful day, the Fox Fitness Community raised $630 for Fulfill Your Destiny.
Becky and her members combined to raise a total of $1045 which means that the effective donation (because of Karen’s) equals $1149.50.
To honor their efforts, Fox Fitness was awarded the H.E.R.O. plaque from Fulfill Your Destiny. It stands for Hands Eagerly Reaching Out – “When we dare to care, our hands eagerly reach out to help others in need”.
If you would like to follow Karen Mertes and Fulfill Your Destiny check out their Facebook page HERE.
And if you would like to contact Angela Mickens for services or to assist her organization in any way, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.