First up on my #brilliance series is Christine Olson. I met Christine at Station 2 which is, in itself, a #brilliance entry, but more on that later. Christine’s story will break your heart and warm your soul. She embodies bravery and courage and I am so impressed by her.
On December 7th, 2005 Christine’s daughter Tiffiany and her boyfriend Dustin were killed in a motorcycle accident. Because there was no contact information linked to her drivers license, Christine didn’t find out anything for six and a half hours. In a truly horrific night Highway Patrol caught up with Christine and her son at a local hospital. They informed her Tiffiany was at the morgue but it was closed and she’d have to call them in the morning. The local paper had the story before she did. It was horrible.
Any parent can imagine what she was going through in the days and weeks that followed. Grief is an individual thing and Christine weathered the storm in the hands of her God. There are so many beautiful elements to this story. Signs from the universe that let her know her baby had spread her wings in heaven.
You can read the full story here.
Christine has worked at the Rod and Reel Pier restaurant out on Anna Maria Island (one of my favorite places in the world) for 17 years. She’s not overly techie and is a kind and unpretentious soul. After the death of her daughter she discovered she’s also fierce and brave as hell.
She floundered for months before realizing her current mission. A mission she had no idea how to accomplish but that hasn’t stopped her. She networked. She went to community leaders and learned how to get things done.
Because of her efforts there is now TIFFs Initiative. To Inform Families First is spreading across the US and if Christine has her way (and I have no doubt she will) the world. The database is linked to states DMV. If anyone is injured or dies, the families can be notified immediately. That can make a difference. Christine shared a story with me about another Florida family whose seventeen year old was mortally injured. She lived for a few hours afterward in the hospital but the parents weren’t notified and missed being able to say goodbye. Gut-wrenching.
So take two minutes and make sure you and your loved ones are signed up. Register here.
The bench at the top of this post sits at the entrance of the pier. Christine passes it every day she goes to work. I can barely imagine what that must be like. If you’d like to reach out to her or make sure your own community or state are connected, she’d love to hear from you. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on FB Christine Olson.
Here’s to all the heroes in our world. Thank you.