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Inspiring family story helps earn national PTA award
by LOUISE R. SHAW
Aug 15, 2014 | 2494 views | 0 0 comments | 67 67 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ERIC GILLESPIE (center), accepts a national award for his video entry in the PTA Reflections contest. The Valley View student entered a video he created about his father.  Courtesy photo
ERIC GILLESPIE (center), accepts a national award for his video entry in the PTA Reflections contest. The Valley View student entered a video he created about his father. Courtesy photo
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BOUNTIFUL — There are a lot of inspirational people in the Gillespie family.

They just don’t know it.

But after an award from the National PTA, maybe they’ll consider it a possibility.

Ten-year-old Eric Gillespie knows his dad doesn’t like to be called inspirational.

But just for fun, he made a video about him and entered it in the PTA Reflections contest at Valley View Elementary.

“It was kind of a joke at first,” said Eric. “He hates being inspiring and people telling him that, so we decided as a joke we can make a video of him being inspiring.”

And it was inspiring.

“If you can believe it ... You can dream it ... You can believe it,” came the words Eric artistically floated across the screen between the story of his dad, David.

The video tells the story of how David Gillespie always wanted to do a marathon.

But on Christmas Eve seven years ago, he was injured in a snowboarding accident and paralyzed from the chest down.

After two months, he could barely sit up, but his dreams of a marathon didn’t die.

Using stop motion video, something Eric considers his “main hobby” along with collecting rocks, David’s legs are moving as he appears to dream.

The video continues with the story: After money from gofundme.com helped provide a bike, David Gillespie successfully competed in the St. George marathon and two others and has qualified for the Boston Marathon.

“He’ll just do it different,” writes Eric in the artistic video, “and faster.”

According to Eden, David’s wife and Eric’s mother, David is just living his life as he has to now and doesn’t feel like he’s anything extraordinary.

Still, the National PTA selected Eric’s creative video for their top prize in the “Outstanding Interpretation in Film Production, and the three flew to Austin, Texas to be honored.

Other Davis County students receiving national Reflections contest awards are Brooklyn Zaugg of Legacy Junior High in Layton, who received an award of merit in music composition, and Lauren Taylor of Kaysville Junior High, who received an award of excellence in photography.

A total of 10 other Utah students won national recognition in all but one category of the competition.

“Our students are amazing,” said Utah PTA president Liz Zentner in a press release. “We really did well this year.”

Close to 300,000 entries were received nationwide, according to Eden.

“It was very surprising,” said Eric of his win. “I didn’t think I would make it that far. At the ceremony, we got to see the other videos and dances and music and I didn’t really think that mine should have made it that far.”

There are two other sons in the Gillespie family. The oldest is on an LDS mission in North Carolina, the same place his father and grandfather served.

The second is 17 but “a year old in spirit,” said Eden. He has seizures every day and can’t talk, though he knows 10 signs to let his family know when he needs something.

“He’s a happy kid and making lots of progress,” she said.

“So we’re kind of exciting,” she added.

And, whether they know it or not, kind of inspiring too.

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