|Olympian Devon Harris|
by American300 Public Affairs
U.S. Embassy Bishek, Kyrgyz Republic- When Olympian Devon Harris was a young boy he would walk out onto the streets of Kingston, Jamaica and gaze at the millionaire mansions a few miles away. Devon and his family were dirt poor; dirt like the floors in his families house.
As the years went by his mother grew accustomed to Devon’s daydreaming. Much of it done starring at the mansions and all that they represented to the young man. Devon dreamed of a day when he too could live in a huge home, own an automobile and store it in a garage. He dreamt of living in a home that would end his four other siblings having to share a small bedroom and single bed.
Devon Harris dreamed of Mansions...
“Everyone told me I was never going to get out of the ghetto, that there was no way I could become a Jamaican Army Officer, let alone attend Sandhurt in England” says Harris “Add making 3 Olympic Teams as a Bobsledder from a tropical island to the list... needless to say, I learned to keep my dreams away from the negative people in my life... they would just tell me I couldn’t do it.”
The nay sayers outnumbered the 'you can do it' crowd in Devon's community.
“Just getting out of the Ghetto was an accomplishment worth celebrating and taking lifetime stock in” says Devon “But I couldn’t stop there. I had a fire burning within to do the unthinkable.” Devon Harris’ life story is one of doing just that. From the ghetto of Kingston, he went onto be commissioned in the Jamaican Army Defense Forces by completing the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Officers course in Surrey, England. A few years later he helped found the first ever Jamaican Olympic Bobsled Team. Today he has become an American citizen and works with two international charities to improve the quality of life for young boys and girls around the world.
“If you want me to get something done, tell me I can't do it” says Devon “I learned at a young age that my dreams were bigger then many of the people around me.”
Devon's life story will be shared along with those of Olympians Nelson Carmichael and Caroline Lalive Charmichael, along with the world's first amputee to summit Mount Everest; Tom Whittaker. The foursome along with Olympic Teams retired coach and founder of American300, Robi Powers, are headed to Kyrgyzstan as part of an on going cultural affairs exchange program that US Embassy Bishkek - Kyrgyz Republic is presenting. "This will mark the third time our nonprofit has worked with the US Embassy Bishkek Team and people of this beautiful country" say Powers "Our goal is to bring individuals who posses strong life stories and share them... it's been a receipe for building friendships all over the world."
For Devon Harris, one of the very first things he will share is that while the Disney film 'Cool Runnings' shined a very bright spot light on his first Olympic Team, the film itself wasn't designed as a documentary. “The film is way off... not even close to the truth, but it did make our effort famous... for that the Olympic Community owes Disney.” says Harris “I can't wait to share along with the other guests, just how excited we are to be shining a light on Kyrgyzstan's young athletes... hopefully we'll be able to help them dream big and keep on pushing.”
|Olympian Nelson Carmichael|
|Olympian Caroline Charmichael|
Stay tuned as Devon and American300 'American Winter Sports Tour' heads west to Kyrgyzstan in early February as part of the US Embassy Bishkek - Kyrgyz Republic presented exchange.
For more on American300 visit: www.American300.org
For more on US Embassy Bishkek - Kyrgyz Republic visit: www.bishkek.usembassy.gov
American300 is a 501c3 all volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the resiliency and quality of life of our US Government Service Members, their Families and the Areas of Operation they live and serve in around the world. No federal endorsement of sponsors or nonprofit is ever intended.