Fresh from their appearance as Grand Marshals in a special parade held in their honor yesterday at the Magic Kingdom, the Chilean miners took some time out from their vacation to share their heroic story with approximately 40 children from Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.
Entering the room with cheers and much enthusiasm, the kids were thrilled at the opportunity to meet the miners and learn more about how they overcame tremendous odds.
It was a special meeting that felt surreal in some ways. Like most everyone worldwide, I was transfixed by the miners’ saga for 69 days last fall. As I watched them hug and greet the children, I never lost sight of the fact that these men survived an almost unimaginable ordeal.
With assistance from an interpreter, the miners shared their insights on courage, faith and the importance of teamwork. I was struck by how each man identified themselves by the order in which they were rescued. It is clear that the men have a brotherly bond and act in solidarity.
A common theme in the lessons shared was of perseverance. Many of the men said they always believed there would be a way out. They encouraged the children to never give up and never lose faith.
As the children had a chance to ask many questions, you could tell that this encounter was going to make a lasting impression on them. Afterwards, the children talked about how grateful they were for their special time with miners and how they will never forget the day.