Thank You Mr. Robert C. Tapella, Public Printer Of The United States
WOW, WHAT A DAY!!! Justin had a dream come true to meet someone of great political importance and shoot hoops with him for Justin's Quest. Well guess what? Justin was supposed to meet Mr. Robert C.Tapella, Public Printer Of The United States, Government Printing Office(GPO) for one half hour today at the YMCA located at 1711 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington DC. To our surprise, Mr. Tapella brought with him the GPO basketball team and some staff, Paul Erickson ( Deputy Public Printer), Beth Ann Telford( who works for the GPO,organized this event and a brain tumor survivor herself), and the photographer who works for the GPO. Also, present were the gracious members of the YMCA staff and Donielle S. Griffin, Director of Mission Advancement of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington and NBTS staff members including Vice Chair of the Board, Jeff Kolodin. We were blown away at this event. Justin's eyes lit up and he had a big smile as Mr. Tapella presented Justin with an autographed official NBA basketball signed by Mr. Tapella and his Deputy, Mr. Erickson with the inscription " Justin you are an inspiration!". Justin then presented Mr. Tapella with an autographed picture of himself taken at the DC Race for Hope in his yellow survivor t-shirt with the inscription "Mr. Tapella thank you for supporting Justin' Quest" and a yellow Justin's Quest rubber bracelet. There were alot of pictures taken but the most fun for Justin was him playing a pickup game with the GPO basketball players and Justin was hitting jumpers all over the court. Everyone made shots for Justin's Quest. Audrey and I were so deeply moved and incredibly humbled by the experience. It seemed almost surreal to see our son with a brain tumor doing what we all dreamed of and that was to raise awareness and help find a cure for this disease, it was emotional. The fun did not stop there, as Mr. Tapella invited us back to the GPO complex for a tour. Our one half hour allotted time thankfully turned into over 2 hours of fun for all of us. Mr. Tapella showed us his unbelievable office, it was huge and so beautiful and very stately looking. Mr. Tapella was so kind to give us the tour and gave us a fantastic tutorial of the GPO and it's history. The GPO complex is over 1.5 million square feet. Justin even had the chance to do marbleized printing with Peter James, the Head Forwarder of the GPO. Mr. James worked with Justin to make a sample that he got to take home. We would like to thank the YMCA for providing this wonderful venue and the shirt they presented Justin. We would also Like to thank the basketball players from the GPO, they were so awesome with Justin and they even picked up Justin so he could dunk the ball. We would like to thank NBTS and Beth Ann Telford for helping to organize this event and she truly is an inspiration to everyone in the brain tumor community. We would like to thank Mr. Erickson and Mr. James of the GPO for their time and effort spent with Justin. Most Importantly, We cannot thank Mr. Tapella enough for a man so important and so busy, to take the time to spend with Justin and us was unbelievable. Mr. Tapella was so genuine in his concern for this cause and Justin. Justin still cannot stop talking about this wonderful experience as it really brightened his spirits and this was needed today because he had additional medical testing in the afternoon which he was very nervous about. Overall 60 shots were made today. This will be a day that our family will never forget. I hope that today's important event will lead to many others and raise awareness and hopefully a cure for brain tumors.