Citi Invests in the Aimee Copeland Foundation
By Bill Johnson, EVP, Managing Director, Global Consumer Bank June 05, 2017 12:00 PM
I’ve worked at Citi for nearly 20 years now and most of my days are fairly routine, filled with meetings, conference calls, presentations, and the myriad tasks it takes to run a successful business. In the course of my career I’ve had the privilege of meeting with thousands of business leaders, government officials, employees, and customers. Each one has a story, but some, like Aimee Copeland’s, leave a lasting impression. While Aimee wasn’t someone I would have likely crossed paths with at work, I was — along with many others —very familiar with her story.
Back in 2012 at a 24-year-old college student in Georgia, Aimee was involved in a zip-lining accident that left her battling flesh-eating bacteria and resulted in the loss of both hands, a leg and a foot. Aimee’s story was followed closely in both the local and national news, first as a tragedy and then as a remarkable story of hope, courage and inspiration.
In September of 2013, as a news show was taping a segment on Aimee’s progress, she shared her dream of creating and sustaining an outdoor center accessible to others, particularly children and veterans, with physical challenges like her own. Subsequent to the airing of that segment, we at Citi were honored to make a financial commitment to help Aimee achieve that dream.
Over the past three and a half years, Aimee has focused on her education, recently completing her master’s in social work and working as a counselor in the Atlanta area. With her education complete, Aimee turned her attention to establishing The Aimee Copeland Foundation and bringing her plans for the rehabilitation center to life.
Aimee recently visited our Atlanta office to present the business plans for her Foundation. Along with other Citi leaders, I was fortunate to spend several hours with her discussing her plans for the future and hearing how she intends to create and sustain the outdoor center and how she will engage young people and those who have served our country. We were so impressed with her energy, enthusiasm and positive outlook that after reviewing her business plans we presented $25,000 in seed money toward her dream of founding the outdoor rehabilitation center. Aimee’s center will provide a fully-accessible natural environment to facilitate the healing of both body and spirit for physically challenged individuals of all ages.
One of my favorite quotes is by Ralph Waldo Emerson… “This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” Before our meeting, I’d only seen Aimee on TV and though her spirit and attitude were evident through those channels, her strength of character, the power of her positive mindset, her deep faith, and her sheer determination to succeed were even more powerful in person. For me, Aimee epitomized that Emerson quote, and I’m excited to see what the future holds in store for her, her Foundation and the outdoor center itself. I have a feeling there’s no stopping Aimee. As she told us the day she visited our offices, “You may have seen something like this before, but you’ve never seen ME!”
You can follow Aimee Copeland and get updates on her Foundation via her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/aimeecopelanddisabilitiesadvocate or her LinkedIn page at www.linkedin.com/in/aimeecopeland
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