Sunday, August 17, 2008

How am I related to Michael Phelps?

My mom's maiden name is Phelps. My grandmother was a Buckler with a whole slew of siblings and we are just about related to everyone in the county. My grandmother and her sister (my great aunt) married two brothers---Lewis and Philip. Therefore, their children are all double-cousins. One of my Aunt Betty's sons' names is Michael...making him Michael Phelps.

Is he the Michael Phelps that is covering the newspapers and news channels right now for breaking an amazing Olympic record? No. But let me tell you a little about him, because he's pretty amazing too.

My cousin Michael was married to a woman who had a daughter from a previous relationship. Michael went through the steps to adopt her and loved her as his own. He also had one son of his own (Philip) who is now in high school. When his wife left him when Philip was pretty young, he committed to raising him and also kept a relationship with his step daughter. Philip still saw his mom, but Michael was his primary caretaker. He loved his son and did his best to provide for him. Michael worked hard as a jail warden and was loved by just about everybody in the local law enforcement. To know him was to love him!

In May of 2003 when I was just getting ready to graduate from college, I was at a Campus Crusade event when I got a phone call from my mom. Michael had been in a motorcycle accident and his helmet had come off when he hit the pavement. He'd been thrown to Shock Trauma and it wasn't looking good. Although Michael was close to my mom's age, I was around him a lot growing up (he even played Santa Claus when I was a kid at the family parties!) and felt a close connection to him.

Unfortunately, Michael did not recover from his internal injuries and died a few days after the accident. He left behind a son that adored him, a family that missed him, and a county of police officers that respected him so much that most of the county and state police officers serving in the county came to his funeral. He was very loved and respected by so many!

So, no, the Michael Phelps I knew didn't set a bunch of world records in swimming. He couldn't swim the butterfly or swim underwater for an insane amount of time after turning. But I'd say that he was pretty amazing too. He loved God, loved his family, and worked hard. That's something to be proud of, and his cheering section is just as big as the Olympian's.

There you have it. That's how I'm related to Michael Phelps! I hope it didn't disappoint you! :)


Katie said...

nope, not one bit. He sounds like a great guy!

Gina said...

Oh. I just read the whole thing. I wrote on your FB wall before I finished. I was just a little shocked about being mislead so easily.
He does sound like a great guy. Its always nice to give tribute to someone like that.
BTW, I will be checking your blog regularly now :)

Caleb's Mom said...

Yes, it was misleading. I'm sorry! But he was a great guy and I took advantage of his name in order to share a little of his life. Don't be mad! :)