By KENDRA SNYDER
I have been part of an Odyssey of the Mind team since I was in third grade. One of my coaches, Keith Bauer, is a source of great inspiration to our team and our school. He has coached us since we were in third grade. We are now all in high school.
He has no children in the program anymore, and he has dedicated the last 17 years to the St. John Neumann Odyssey of the Mind program.
In July 2012, Bauer was in a terrible car accident and almost lost his life. He was very badly injured and underwent more than a dozen surgeries in a one-month period.
A serious, life-threatening infection in his left foot necessitated the need for an amputation. He underwent extensive rehabilitation through January 2013, which left him unable to coach us last year.
We decided not to do it without him, because it would not be the same. So we took a year off from OM.
He was very sad to not coach us last year, but we visited him many times at various hospitals and rehabilitation centers. He always remained upbeat and handled his accident with a great deal of grace and a positive attitude.
This year, he is back with us, and better than ever! We are so grateful for him and his coaching ability and experience. He is so much fun to be with, he always makes us laugh and supports us in everything we do.
At the Regional Odyssey of the Mind tournament in March, we nominated Bauer for an OMer Award.
OMer Awards are given out to people who go above and beyond for their team or for the Odyssey of the Mind program. We were thrilled that he received the award, and that the entire Odyssey of the Mind family gave him a standing ovation at the tournament's awards ceremony.
Our team recently secured the state championship in OM, so we anxiously look forward to continuing our journey with Bauer to World Finals next month.
He is an inspiration to our team and to the St. John Neumann Odyssey of the Mind program.