heather-kc

Heather Stemple

Fenton, Michigan

Altruistic

Connect with Heather

mic-separator

“Ambassadorship to me is laying down your time in order to save or better the life of others. I have been dealt many opportunities to be a Life Vest. In one year, I was called on by five people wishing to no longer live. I had to give my time to save three people on the spot and two through meeting up and counseling on regular basis for a period of time. There are times it is difficult to get everything I need to do for myself done, but when I am called upon or see people suffering to the point of possible death, I must take action.”

Kindness and compassion came a lot quicker to Heather Stemple than an easy life. But although her childhood had more rough turns than most people’s, Heather always knew how to identify and hold on to the traces of love around her.

“As a child growing up in a drug home, poor, and often deprived of basic needs, many families and school staff tended to my needs. This imbedded in me an eternal instinct to continue to disburse that same kindness throughout my life. Kindness came to me in many ways. My teachers cared for me emotionally which led me (even though living in extreme hardship) to excel in my education and extracurricular activities, making school my home. The support given to me by the families that took me in has allowed me a great variety of support systems till date. I am eternally grateful for each and every fingerprint in my life, all the way to Life Vest Inside and its impact of kindness each and every day.”

Heather recalls having dealt with a lot of her rough childhood memories by bottling them up. Today, she courageously speaks about her journey as a recovering alcoholic. It began with a liver failure that she suffered in 2013. The doctors believed that she only had a 10% chance at survival. But she came out of a 12-day coma and proclaimed three words: I am done! After three weeks, she joined AA and began her journey through faith.

“Our lives are not our own and we know not what lies ahead. In the blink of an eye, I came back alive. I began to get better and in the winter of 2014, at the age of 44, I went back to college,” says Heather.

Heather believes that having met Orly Wahba, the founder of Life Vest Inside, was key to the change in her life. When she was a year sober, she went to New York, where a friend introduced her to Orly. The two women connected instantly and Orly did a small recording of Heather’s story to share on the website. She then gave Heather an Act of Kindness card and spoke to her.

“It was just simple, caring talk, but it was a treasure in my life to meet someone new and develop a connection after rebuilding my own character and learning who I am again in the world without the addiction controlling me,” says Heather.

“It was just simple, caring talk, but it was a treasure in my life to meet someone new and develop a connection after rebuilding my own character and learning who I am again in the world without the addiction controlling me,” says Heather.

Orly encouraged Heather to go back to school for Social Work. Heather did, and she graduated in 2016 with a degree in Applied Sciences at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan. She continued at Mott and graduated In 2017 as a Certified Social Work Technician with Substance abuse Counselling Core. Heather believes that persistence, resistance, resilience, and continually seeking purpose is vital. She soon begins classes for yet another degree in General Studies.

Today, Heather hands out her own AOK cards to people. While she says that there have been several times individuals have made perplexed expressions or turned away when she did so, she thinks that it is because people are taken aback by such honesty and kindness, and become suspicious as to what is expected of them in return. Usually, a few friendly words from her combat this thinking and the kindness deed is followed through in fun.

Heather believes that being a Life Vest Inside Kindness Ambassador altered her life through four years of empowerment, and soul shaking, unconditional, love. She sees her ambassadorship as an opportunity to communicate and connect with people globally, and a chance to unite under humanity. She was also a Dance For Kindness group leader twice, and was moved by the love shown to her when she took it up.

“My friends and family have made phone calls, hung posters, shown up for the events and practices, and even cooked for the after parties. I am blessed how everyone comes together for the sake of global kindness. This year my life situations do not allow me to lead again, but please do so yourself, if you can! You are qualified, stronger than you think, and deserve the rewards from the event,” she says.

Aside from her incredible journey with Life Vest Inside, Heather also enjoys spending her time involved in her church, worshiping and being grateful to her God. She is a missionary who has helped people in Flint, Michigan survive the Flint Water Crisis by connecting them with doctors and transportation systems.

“I enjoy fellowship being with other people, singing, writing, cooking, decorating, being a florist, and spending time at the missions. I enjoy my children and holiday time as well,” she says.

Heather believes that one of the greatest accomplishments in her life is having raised her children. No matter the struggles she had, she got up and continued to set new goals that seemed beyond her reach and attained them. She wanted her children to know that life comes with many problems, yet we have to continue fighting the good fight, remembering the fingerprints of those who have touched our lives and imprinting them onto the lives of others.

“My three lovely children were not even aware of my alcoholism because I kept it inside. I was divorced and most always worked two jobs but these kids of mine are God fearing and full of life and love. My children are my most prized possession. My heart has been poured into them despite my many weaknesses and it shows,” says Heather.

Heather currently lives in a fifth wheel after a brush with domestic violence that she didn’t see coming. But she tries to live her life through kindness, one day at a time. She keeps a daily gratitude list to remember that her needs are met even at dark times.

Her message to the world is: “Unity, don’t waste your time hating and hurting others when ALL we’re here for is to LOVE!”

separator-bottom

– Interviewed by Soumya John

Soumya describes herself is as a writer. She writes for love, for healing, and for hope, which also happens to be what she would call the central theme of her life! As a Blog Guru at Life Vest Inside, she hopes to give words to the magic of kindness that is slowly, but most certainly, taking over the world!

separator-bottom

arrowRead More Interviews

lamp

MY WISH:

Heather is dealing with an unfortunate situation at present and does not have her own address for the first time in her life. She is grateful that she is still warm, fed and loved everyday, but could use help to get a small apartment with a few month’s rent covered to keep her going till January.

separator-sidebar idea

FUN FACTS:

Something not everyone knows:
Heather Iikes to turn down the volume on the television and turn up the tunes of music and watch shows or commercials on TV as though they are performing to the music!

Dream Vacation:
Greece

Favorite Band:
Fleetwood Mac and Boston