Letters From Leton: Do You Believe in Miracles?

1979 had not been a good year.

  • The Three Mile Island plant had imploded throwing the Nuclear Power Industry into turmoil.
  • Russia invaded Afghanistan sending ripples of fighting that continues to this day.
  • Americans were taken hostage in Iran, and the country seemed impotent to get their release, and gas prices soared due to oil disruptions.
  • Interest rates soared to a prime rate of 15.25% (only to go higher).
  • Jimmy Carter, the President at that time, was even attacked by a swamp rabbit while on a fishing trip!

America entered the winter of 1980 in the doldrums with public spirit low.

It was against this backdrop that a group of amateurs entered an ice rink to participate in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid New York.

Not much was expected from the team. They had not only been beaten, they had been embarrassed in a tune up game against the machine that was the Soviet Union (Russia) Hockey team – a team that could easily compete and likely beat the top professional teams.

On a dark and cold February evening in 1980, something happened. What is now known as the Miracle on Ice – the U.S. Hockey Team beat the Machine and proceeded to win Gold!

Later that year at the National Jaycee Convention, I had the opportunity to meet and hear Mike Eruzione share his personal story about the U.S. Team. He was introduced, and a 10 minute standing ovation from the crowd occurred with chants of “USA!” resonating through the auditorium. Eruzione shared the details of hard work, failures that occurred, and the doubt that entered the team’s mind – but in the end, the belief that working as a team could lead to success.

As my life has gone on, I have become involved in different efforts (Birthplace of Country Music, engagement at UVA-Wise, Economic Development, growing our Bank) that have faced many uphill challenges. Challenges that sometimes seemed insurmountable.

During those times when I question the possibility of success, I am reminded that it is through the hard work of many people working together against supposedly insurmountable odds that success can happen!

Do you believe in miracles? I do.  And I believe in the little things, the hard work, day by day efforts that can lead to Gold in our personal, community and professional lives.

– Leton

“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.