I’d like to ask Cynthia Bennett to come forward now.
I’ve already talked about Cynthia some in deserving her Spirit Award. And now, as Paul Harvey would say, is time for the rest of the story.
One of the things that is great about Cynthia is her sense of humor. As I said, she smiles a lot and is always ready for a retort when I tease her, whether because of her spelling or that time she tried to pick a guy up on the waterfall trip. No matter what the circumstances and what the weather, she doesn’t get upset.
Last year on the Appalachian Trail, the group suffered some extreme weather, from pounding rain to freezing cold at night. And many of those going never thought it would get that cold. So many did not bring a sleeping bag. Cynthia was one of those. But rather than complain, she knew enough as health and safety officer to go fetch the emergency blanket, which is this coated fiber that is lightweight and looks like a giant sheet of aluminum foil. Throughout the night, the others say, Cynthia sounded like an empty bag of potato chips because the blanket makes a loud crinkle sound as it moves. But she slept warm and was happy as could be.
One part of that sense of humor is that she doesn’t take herself all that seriously. As she’s written to me over the years, she wasn’t all that concerned with spelling or punctuation or even vocabulary. Whatever she was writing about became a “thingy.”
I also can’t talk about her without mentioning her sales ability. She and Hope could sell ice to Eskimos. Cynthia is determined in sales and doesn’t take no for an answer. She is not someone I would describe as shy. During our recent candy bar sale at Kroger, she sold 65 candy bars in an hour.
When it came time to naming her, I focused on the fact that in four years she has rarely been absent. No matter what we were doing, Cynthia was there. I wasn’t the only adult who noticed. Said another adult, “ I found her to be reliable, and willing to pitch in at a moments notice, and someone that others could count on if they ever needed help. If you ever needed help Cynthia would have your back. If I were to describe Cynthia, I would say she always had that sparkle in her eyes, that let you know that whatever the crew was going to do, whether it be jumping 25 feet off a cliff into freezing cold water or smacking a soccer ball around at the Seven Oaks Park, that this was going to be fun!”
That’s what led to her being named with the spirit award and why tonight, I am proud to award you the Lakota name, NACACIGIN, which means “loyal and faithful.”