Homestead’s Own Guides Blind Runner in NYC Marathon
Do me a favor. Think about your day. Think about all of the things you do during your day. Now, think about what it would be like to do all of those things with your eyes closed. Could you do it? I know I couldn’t.
Over the weekend, Anthony (Tony) Felitte, a member of the Executive Leadership Team at Homestead Funding Corp., in partnership with Achilles International (NY Chapter), participated as a guide for Vladimir Chestnov, 58, in the New York City Marathon. Vladimir is from Russia, and he is completely blind. With the help of Tony and two other guides, only one of whom spoke Russian, Vladimir was able to complete the marathon this weekend in 4 hours and 27 minutes.
While this was an amazing accomplishment for Vladimir, the experience didn’t only change his life in a positive way, it also had a significant impact on Tony’s life.
Tony has been running and cycling his entire life. He’s competed in 17 marathons, as well as countless IRONMAN® competitions and cycling races. When I asked Tony how he got involved with Achilles, he said that throughout his years of competing in marathons, he was always in awe, and personally affected, when he saw a person with a disability competing. It made him realize that as hard as it was for him, it was that much more difficult for someone with a disability. Ultimately, Tony decided that he wanted to be able to help make someone’s personal dream of running a marathon not just a dream, but a reality. He said that “in your life, you strive to be a better person. I love the sport [of running], but that day it wasn’t about me, it was about him [Vladimir].”
I asked Tony to describe the experience to me, and what it was like helping guide someone who didn’t speak the same language as you. He said that although they didn’t speak the same language, and couldn’t communicate with their words, after they finished the race, when Mr. Chestnov grabbed his hand and with tears in his eyes pulled him in for an enormous hug; it was in that moment Tony understood just how much he had helped him.
Tony is just one of our many employees at Homestead who is contributing to our community and making a difference. To learn more about the different charities Homestead Funding Corp. is involved in as an organization, please visit our Homestead’s Helping Hands page.
About Homestead Funding Corp.
Homestead Funding Corp. is a multi-state licensed mortgage banker with branches located throughout the eastern U.S. In operation since 1995, our corporate headquarters is located in Albany, New York where we have perennially been the area's largest independent mortgage lender. We have tens of thousands of satisfied customers, originated billions of dollars in residential mortgage loans and maintained a reputation of exceptional service, honesty, integrity and financial reliability.