My 3 Favorite Speakers of 2014

My 3 Favorite Speakers of 2014. A picture of Major Dan Rooney and Garrett Scanlon after Major Dan's presentation for the BBB of Central Ohio, in Columbus

All I can say about My 3 Favorites Speakers of 2014, who I’ve been able to see in person, is … Wow!  (Founder of Folds of Honor, Top Gun award recipient, & PGA Golfer, Major Dan Rooney)

My 3 Favorite Speakers of 2014:

Major Dan Rooney, Chad Hymas, and Fr. Robert Barron

Here is the criteria for my list:

  • Are they genuine people with an authentic message?
  • Do they leave you uniquely inspired with tangible ideas you can use to improve your life?
  • Are you still reflecting back on their message 3, 6, 12 months later?

It helps too if they are:

  • Entertaining
  • Have a great sense of humor, and
  • Are fascinated by the important things in life

These 3 have it all!

Major Dan Rooney

Before my friends Kip Morse, President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio, and Chip Weiant, Director of the Center for Character Ethics, invited me to the BBB’s Annual Awards Luncheon, I had never heard of Major Dan Rooney. I don’t think many others in the audience had either.

But that didn’t keep everyone from giving him a standing ovation … before his talk!

A 2-time recipient of the coveted “Top Gun” award, ‘Major Dan’ is the founder of the Folds of Honor and Patriot Golf Day, and is a three-time tour of duty F-16 fighter pilot. Oh … he is also a PGA golf professional and founder of Patriot Golf Club.

His story …

While returning home from his 2nd tour of duty in Iraq, Major Dan experienced an event that made him painfully aware of the reality families face when a loved one in uniform is killed or wounded. This inspired him to create Folds of Honor. Since 2007, the organization has awarded over 7,500 scholarships to children of military families of those who have been killed or disabled while in active duty!

Major Dan Rooney tells the story and mission of his life in his recent book, which can be found on his website by the same name, A Patriot’s Calling.

  • incredibly heartfelt
  • interspersed with hilarious stories from his life
  • with a great takeaways to improve our lives

Major Dan’s Message:

Rather than me explaining Major Dan’s message, you can hear it directly from Major Dan.

Chad Hymas

The Wall Street Journas call Chad Hymas, “One of the 10 Most Inspirational People in the World.”

I can tell you, firsthand … that is a wild understatement!

His story …

This is from Chad’s website:

In 2001, at the age of 27, Chad’s life changed in an instant when a 2,000-pound bale of hay shattered his neck leaving him a quadriplegic. But Chad’s dreams were not paralyzed that day – he became an example of what is possible.

Chad is a best selling author, president of his own Communications Company, Chad Hymas Communications, Inc., and is a recognized world-class wheelchair athlete. In 2003, Chad set a world record by wheeling his chair from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas (513 miles).

Chad’s Message:

Seriously, Chad Hymas has so many incredibly valuable messages to share, it would be a disservice to try and boil it down to one. All I know is this. Whatever topic this guy talks about, you learn something.

  • Attitude
  • Change
  • Inspiration
  • Safety
  • Service
  • Success
  • Vision

The perspective this guy shares is simply a tour de force.

If you ever get a chance to see him speak in person, take it. In the meantime, he has a great website that links to many videos that feature him at

Fr. Robert Barron

My wife, Sherri, says that the reason she and her friends enjoy listening to Fr. Robert Barron is because he draws from the various worlds of sports, science, philosophy, pop culture, music, and art when delivering his message. As a result, he is always entertaining and thought-provoking.

His story:

Father Barron is a Catholic priest, from Chicago, who works with NBC News in New York as an on-air contributor and analyst. He is also a frequent commentator for the Chicago Tribune, FOX News, CNN, EWTN, Our Sunday Visitor, the Catholic Herald in London, and Catholic News Agency.

Sherri and I had the opportunity to see Fr. Robert Barron speak in Columbus, Ohio this year.

His Message that Evening:

He spoke of the danger of living in a world that fails to recognize anything as certain. It went like this:

Picture someone lying on an air mattress, floating on a large, lazy lake. In different areas of the lake are other people, nice and comfortable, careful not to get in each other’s way. Everyone is simply adrift, saying “Keep to yourself – don’t bump into me, and I won’t bump into you.” As smooth as it is, the lake has no direction, no energy.

Contrast that with a raging river with tight banks that produce a strong current. The river has firm objective ‘bumpers’ which give the water energy and direction. It now has a mission. It is going somewhere!

Is the lake comfortable?  Sure. Is it safe? Probably. But it is completely dull and meaningless.

The more exciting adventure … creating a raging current in our life

Fr. Barron’s metaphor suggests that our faith in God is like the river and that relativism is like the lake.

Our faith provides us with a definitive direction and offers us a much more exciting adventure. Because, it flows vigorously towards God.

To get a glimpse of the teaching style of Fr. Robert Barron, click here to see one of his online videos, titled, Thomas Acquinas and the Argument from Motion.

So, there you have it; 3 of my favorite speakers! 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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