But I felt it absolutely necessary to come back and make this post about one of our own. Griffin "OFF4L Van Nest, is far and away more than just the guy in the face paint with all the cool stories and the pictures that we look forward to. He's ohhhh so much more than that.
My first experience with OFF4L was just like most of us here on the site. He made a post, and inside that post was a man (and his wife) with a fandom that made me stand in awe. Now, I consider myself a pretty hardcore fan.... but this guy... this guy put me at the kiddie table.
Knowing he was from Toledo, I had extended the invite to meet up for a beer if his travels ever brought him thru Columbus, and I'll be damned if it didn't happen shortly after that. He found himself in town, for the Buckeyes home opener and we met over at the Roosters by my office in Grove City (just south of Columbus). It wasn't hard to miss his ride, the Impala with the Red Wings, Block O, and Monster Dolphins Decal on the back window...
For the next hour we sat and Griffin rambled off his adventures along with some details I didn't know. For instance, I knew it worked in healthcare in some capacity, but what I learned is that he works with the elderly doing physical therapy. It takes a special kind of soul to work long and hard and travel the country doing what he does, and that more than anything is what Griffin should be remembered for.
Shortly after our meeting in Columbus, I made it down to the Dolphins game in Cincinnati on Halloween (My Birthday). It was there that Griffin guided me to the Dolphins tailgate, and it was there I started to see the magic that is OFF4L, in all his glory. He was decked out in the Face paint, the aqua blazer, and he brought with him what appeared to be a crowd of 100+ of his closest friends.
Dolphin fans, Bengal's fans, it didn't matter. Everyone was interested in this painted concierge of the tail gate. You see Griffin does just show up with a case of beer, and a smile... Griffin shows up with a truck decked out in Dolphins gear, he shows up with a grill the size of the Florida Pan handle, and enough food to feed the small army of his fellow friends. (Burgers, Chicken, Shrimp, Steak, Kabobs, Cookies, Pies, Cakes, Snack foods, Jello Shots & more)
Beer and Pumpkin Pie on Halloween? I'm in....
I can't tell you how many of the Cincinnati Faithful came over to say Hi, and get a picture with Ohio. His attitude, demeanor and charismatic attitude is infectious. He was actually handing out Dolphins gear to the crowd of fans that were there. He tried to give me a couple Toledo Dolphins Fan Club Drinking Glasses, but I felt it was better to go to some of the other more deserving fans that were milling about. This guy is the absolute definition of a philanthropist.
I walked away a better person know OFF4L, and it truly is hard to see how anyone could do anything but like Griffin.
We've all seen his pictures and MM Adventures here on thePhinsider, and we've all read about his exploits witch Channing Crowder, and the numerous other guys he's had the fortune of speaking with and getting to know on a fairly regular basis.... but hopefully everyone garnered even more respect for him when we heard about the DCC.
He jumped head first into a 100 mile bike a thon to help raise money for a charity. Not because he it was something he did regularly, but because he felt the need to help more people. Yes, Griffin loves his mountain bike, but this is an entirely different beast altogether. He showed zero hesitation in what he was getting into, and I'll be damned if he didn't come out on top. He wasn't riding for you, he wasn't riding for me... he was riding for Cancer Survivors and Cancer patients everywhere. There was no option to fail.... and he didn't.
So it comes as no surprise....
When I read that our own OFF4L is going to have his own Bronze Bust in Canton. Seriously? In Canton!! The freaking Football Hall of Fame. I'm already planning my 2 hour drive over there to get a picture...hopefully I can time it right and meet up with Griff...
Boldest Fan? Maybe.
Boldest Person? Absolutely.
I like many before and many after, will be a better person because of the blessings Ohio leaves for others. We share in his experiences, his joy, and more over, he takes that same energy and enthusiasm in his work with the elderly, the love him...with good reason.
Thanks Griffin for all you do.
I couldn't think of a more deserving person for this award.
This isn't a rant..... its a Rave.
You are a Hall of Famer on the forum.
You are a Hall of Famer in Person
and you are soon to be a Hall of Famer in Canton..... amazing.