Story by Matt Kennedy
Tom and Lindsay Konkel can remember the smile on Sara’s face the first they ever saw her. She had an inner light that shined through her and reflected a sense of peace and joy. Tom and Lindsay fell in love with that smile and have watched with pride as Sara has grown to be caring, fearless and sensitive to the needs of others.
Sara’s determination has been evident from the start, and showed when she first set foot in the United States. She knew no English, but she worked hard right away to try and learn the language as quickly as she could. Sara continues to show that same drive, whether as a student, athlete, daughter or friend. She always gives her best effort.
“Watching Sara as a 3-year-old proactively learn a language was incredible,” Lindsay said. “She would sit in my lap and we would flip through magazines together. She would point to something like a shoe and I would say “shoe,” then she would say “shoe” in her language and in English. I didn’t know this then, but this was a preview of how she would approach most things: take the lead and work at it. Anything is achievable. She doesn’t wait for things.”
Even though the Konkels were excited and ready to fall in love with the beautiful girl with the beautiful smile, they still had no idea how much they were going to adore Sara the very first moment they met her. She has since shown so many qualities that give them an immense amount of pride and joy, especially when it comes to how she cares about other people.
“There was something in her smile,” Tom said. “She’s very strong and comfortable with who she is, and she is really, really outgoing and has a vibrant personality. She is very confident in herself, and I love, after raising four kids, that she is so comfortable in her own skin.”
Sara is an outstanding student, and she’s a fighter.
She showed that spirit from an early age, but Tom and Lindsay figured their three boys Austin, Greyson and Chase might have helped bring out even more of her competitive fire. They are collegiate athletes and three of the people Sara admires most.
One of the family’s earliest memories is Sara lying in Chase’s bed as a little girl, simply wanting to be near him. She followed his athletic exploits closely and loved to be the first to greet him outside after games. So, it meant the world when Chase chose her to walk on the field with him for his college’s Senior Day.
“She lived to go to his games and wait outside the stadium to see him after,” Tom said. “So, to be with him on Senior Day was a really special moment for both of them.”
Sara loves to play basketball and soccer. She enjoys the thrill of competition and the hard work that goes into winning. Sara also loves reading, writing and listening to music, and she works hard in school at St. Vincent’s. When she is home, Sara likes to be outside and to try new experiences and new foods.
She is fearless that way and always up for a challenge.
“She’s not afraid to try new things, whether that’s food adventures or going off to basketball camp by herself,” Tom said. “She’s adventurous and open to new experiences.”
Sara’s life has been an adventure that has taken her halfway across the world and landed her with a family that is so proud of the person she is. Tom and Lindsay love that she does well in school and is a respectful competitor in every sport she tries, but they REALLY love the way she treats others.
Sara and Lindsay have formed a beautiful mother-daughter bond that has surely helped Sara along the way.
But as much as Lindsay might provide a positive, caring role model for Sara, she feels like she draws far more inspiration from her daughter.
“Sara is fearless,” Lindsay said. “She approaches every situation with confidence and an open mind. Her courage is one of the things I admire most about her.”
Tom and Lindsay have no doubts about the bright future that lies ahead of Sara in the years to come.
She may choose to focus on writing or art, or perhaps follow in her brothers’ footsteps and play big-time basketball or soccer. No matter which route Sara chooses in life, her parents will be exceedingly proud of who she is and what she does.
“We are so proud of her as a person first and who she is,” Tom said. “We’re proud of what she reflects every day and the way she carries herself and treats other people. We are so proud of her as a daughter.”