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A few of chances are you’ll bear in mind your dad and mom telling you to “be good” while you left dwelling to go someplace resembling college or church. You would possibly even recall your grandparents saying this to your dad and mom as adults. For a lot of Individuals, “be good” was a standard parting phrase that was mentioned together with “I like you” or “be secure.” Within the eyes of the message giver, you by no means know when the following time you say it might be the final.

For Rebecca Rusch, it’s greater than a phrase, it’s a precept of her life as a result of it was handed right down to her by her late father, Capt. Stephen A. Rusch, who was serving in Vietnam when he was killed in motion after his aircraft was shot down. When he wrote letters to dwelling, they’d finish with that phrase. Rusch was solely three years previous on the time that her father handed away. She and her sister could be raised by their mom in a single-parent dwelling. She admitted it was a battle to seek out her method throughout childhood, however she discovered that method after becoming a member of her highschool’s cross-country group.

Rebecca Rusch father in the air force
Rebecca Rusch

“There was no athletics in my background. I used to be simply searching for one thing, and once I joined that group, I discovered a neighborhood,” she mentioned. “I additionally discovered my physique may very well be used as a software to go locations and do stuff.”

That discovery led Rusch to find an entire world, actually and figuratively. She discovered a brand new ardour and went all in on it. She dedicated extra to operating in addition to biking, mountaineering, kayaking, and extra. That mixed with motivation and curiosity led her to do extra exploring as soon as she grew up.

“I by no means envisioned it to be my profession, but it surely saved falling into place as I selected extra adventures and doing extra issues.”

Rusch would spend time working in an area well being membership, which finally led to her opening a series of rock-climbing gyms herself. After that, she went again to exploring once more. She wasn’t motivated by cash or making a residing, although that turned out to be what occurred. It was her ardour, motivation, and companionship she felt when concerned in health actions that fueled her. She would go on to compete in biking competitively and win seven world championships.

“It’s been an incredible journey that every one began with operating in highschool.”

Rebecca Rusch riding a bicycle for the Dirty Kanza race
Rebecca Rusch

After fulfilling a drive to be first in competitions, she shifted her focus to new firsts resembling distinctive adventures and going to locations she had by no means been, together with in 2015 when she went to the Ho Chi Minh path that her father crashed and died at. Whereas one might really feel that may set off trauma, Rusch felt a brand new connection that impressed her.

“I knew little or no about my father’s expertise as a result of nobody talked about it,” she defined. “We went on an expedition to trip it and get a traditionally correct sense of it.”

She found rather a lot on that journey, together with that there are nonetheless ramifications of the conflict being felt at this time. There are nonetheless unexploded gadgets there that would trigger hurt to unintended victims. Rusch felt compelled to assist improve consciousness of this and discover a solution to make a optimistic change.

“I had no concept. I assumed the one a part of the conflict left was reminiscences, however I really feel my dad referred to as me there to indicate I may make a distinction.”

That trip related her to her dad in a novel method. She was so impressed by her expertise that she created a documentary referred to as “Blood Street,” which went on to make that distinction, and it might win awards as nicely. Extra importantly, it led to a profession and life shift that may assist many individuals far past herself.

“Many individuals felt like that may’ve been closure, but it surely was really a brand new opening for me,” she acknowledged.

Rusch took her father’s inspiration and particular message in these letters he wrote and created her personal private mission. She created the Be Good Basis as a solution to “enrich communities through the use of the bicycle as a catalyst for therapeutic, empowerment, and evolution.” A part of that mission consists of group bicycle rides to assist promote biking and health basically.

Rusch shared, “The bike is a world image of journey, connectivity, and mobility. Folks that noticed the bike may instantly inform that I used to be on a journey.”

The brand for the muse is even in Mr. Rusch’s handwriting, which serves as a logo for her to proceed working to do as he requested.

“I felt he wished me to assist clear up these unexploded ordnances on the Ho Chi Minh Path, and we additionally prolong the bike to extra individuals to assist with psychological well being, bodily well being, connectivity, neighborhood, service, and getting extra children on bikes.”

Rebecca Rusch on an Alaskan excursion
Rebecca Rusch

That final merchandise is particularly necessary to her as a result of she recalled the liberty that got here with studying to trip a motorcycle as a child. There was one thing empowering in regards to the coaching wheels coming off and having the ability to trip by yourself. She desires children to really feel that very same empowerment at this time.

“There was a way of freedom, then you definately go hang around with your pals and go on adventures. I don’t need us to lose that as adults.”

As for Rusch’s sister, she discovered her personal path by way of drugs and the US Air Drive. Main Basic Sharon Bannister discovered the connection to their father by way of service, which additionally helped her forge her path to a profession in dentistry. The sisters at the moment are coming again collectively, and they’re working collectively on sharing the inspiration they acquired from their father. Sharon serves on the Board for the Be Good Basis.

“It’s actually superior,” Rusch mentioned proudly. The sisters are clearly enthusiastic about serving to others enhance themselves, discover methods to assist others, and make a distinction, however most significantly, she hopes that the individuals she reaches will observe her total message a mission.

“Be good.”

For extra data on the Be Good Basis, go to TheBeGoodFoundation.org. You’ll be able to see extra and #JointheRusch at RebeccaRusch.com .

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