There was a time when Heather Suhr used to walk golf courses with so much authority in her muted world, ignoring mounting pressure to make history.
As the No. 1 player on the Case High School girls golf team from 1996-98, Suhr became the first - and to date only - female to win three straight Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state championships.
It's something that Suhr, who is deaf, might have allowed to be the signature accomplishment of her life. But she wanted more out of herself and the commitment she is making these days far outshines the magic she used to perform with her bag of golf clubs.
As the new Cincinnati Area Coordinator for Deaf Queen Quest at St. Rita School for the Deaf, Suhr has been able to reach out to children who face the same challenges she once faced. She is also able to spread her faith as a born-again Christian.
"I coordinate events, work on teen fundraisers, set up small group meetings and share the gospel," Suhr, 29, said. "There are two other leaders in Cincinnati who work with me. Together, we reach out to the deaf and hard-of-hearing teenagers, mainly at St. Rita School for the Deaf."
Sinking a crucial putt in a pressure-packed situation used to bring enormous thrill to Suhr. Now the thrill comes from reaching deaf students, a skill within her that has been enhanced all the more from being raised in a deaf family.
"I often reflect to my childhood days and remember all the support I received from my family," she said. "I am one of those few fortunate to have been raised in a deaf family.
"When I am around deaf and hard-of-hearing teenagers who lack this experience, I share as much love as I can to them so they feel special and loved. It is inspiring to see some teenagers growing in their personal relationship with the Lord.
"God is doing amazing things in and through every one of the teenagers."
But a harsh reality is that Suhr does not have the comfort of a steady-paying job. She is serving a ministry, which depends on the financial support of those who appreciate her desire to help others.
And while she feels awkward asking for contributions, especially during these challenging times, she is in a position of having to do just that.
"Trying to find support for my ministry is not easy," she said. "It is not easy for people to support me because a lot of them do not understand why I'm doing this or even why I would want to do this.
"I'm looking for people who can make monthly commitments in my ministry. All donations are tax-deductible. I know with God all things are possible and I just need to have faith."
To make a donation to Heather Suhr's ministry, click on www.yfc.net/give and complete the forms. To indicate who to sponsor, use the name Heather Suhr and/or account No. 30456. If you would prefer a donation slip, email Suhr at firstname.lastname@example.org
Suhr’s personal blog page is http://runningtheracethelifestory.wordpress.com