Florida Stories

Rajesh Durbal, Ocoee

(Nominated by Cathy Payne)
Ocoee Community Center
February 19, 2011

Although I’ve never met Rajesh, I’ve followed his story for about two years.  Rajesh exemplifies heroic living by his willingness to share his experiences with the community in a positive way. He was born without fully formed legs and one of his arms is not formed, leaving him with the full use of just one arm, yet he competes in triathalons (and does quite well). He set a goal to complete an Ironman distance triathalon and did so recently (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run).  Most people would never think to even train for a race, but to see a person who trains with no legs (he does not use a wheelchair) running with no complaints made me want to be a better person.  The heroic part of his story is not just that he embodies the American spirit that we can overcome any obstacle, but also that he is willing to share his journey with the community. He runs a foundation that encourages healthy living and promotes learning, focusing on helping community members with special needs.