Page 15 - NGA NATURALmag 2017 OCTOBER
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12 hours per day and was on on the list for a a a a a a a kidney transplant Even with this Jerry continued to to train clients and and was determined to to stay involved and and grow the the the NGA HEART OF AMERICA In 2004 as as the the the show show approached I I I I I became more involved in in in the the the show show promotion yet I I I continued to to be be be a a a a a a a judge I I I recall one of Jerry’s favorite things to to to do before a a a a a a a a a show which would be be to to to sit at at at check in in in and registration all day He loved the the interaction that took place with the the compet- itors and wouldn’t miss it it it for anything Although Jerry was supposed to to to be home on his dialysis machine that day he he he he chose to to to handle the the check in in process anyway One show show tradition that that that generally took place on on the the morning of a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a show show was that that that Jerry would would insist that that that we all would would meet for breakfast at at at at at his his favorite restaurant at at at 6 00 00 am This is is is is something that we did every year But on this morning in in in in in in in in in 2004 I walked in in in in in in in in in to see Jerry wincing in in in in in in in in pain at the table He was pale in in in in in in in in color and did did not look like his his usual self We were all concerned about about his his condition but didn’t know about about the danger signs of kidney failure so when we we asked Jerry if he he he he he was was okay and he he he he he he he said that he he he he he he he was was we we took his word for it We proceeded towards the the venue where the the show was held before pre-judging pre-judging and instead of going to to to to the the the the the auditorium Jerry decided to to to to skip the the the the the pre-judging pre-judging and and and go go home He handed me me me the the the the the the keys to to to to the the the the the the theatre and and and told told me me me me me “John the the the the the show must go go on You know how how how to to to run it ” He told told me me me he he he would come back for the the evening show I I didn’t feel right about leaving him
and and decided to to to to to go go with with him
to to to to to his house I I took a a a a a a a few others with with me to to to to to to make sure that he he he got into bed and and was reconnected to to to the the the dialysis machine I looked
at Jerry closely while we we were there and he he he he looked
horrible yet he he he he continued to to to to refuse to to to to seek medi-
cal cal attention by calling his doctor or or or or be be taken to to to to to the the hospital I began to to to worry as as the the show show time was slowly approaching and with our biggest show show yet almost 68 competitors I I I knew that I I I had to to to to be be there I I I asked one of the the the crew to to to to to stay behind to to to to to keep an eye on on Jerry so that I could get ready to to to to start the the the show There were competitors whom had traveled from from all over the the State of Illinois as as well as as from from neighboring states so the the show show couldn’t be canceled and at at at at at Jerry’s instruc- tion I I knew that that I I had to make sure that that the the show show would still go on on Jerry’s 15-year-old daughter was there to to to give the the positive energy that she she had been accustomed to to to to by sitting beside her her dad since she she was 6 years-old to to to to enjoy the festivities of show time so with her presence I felt comfortable enough to to take the lead at Jerry’s request and get it it started Fall 2017
As soon as as the first round of competitors walked on on on stage my my phone rang It was was my my friend who called to to say that Jerry had had collapsed and was was being taken by ambulance to to the the hospital CPR had had been per- formed but the the the prospects didn’t look good I asked another crew member to take Jerry’s 15-year-old daughter who had been at at the the the show assisting me me to to the the hospital so that she could be be by her dad’s side It was only 10 minutes later when my phone rang and and I I learned that Jerry had died of of heart and and and and kidney failure I I was was stunned and and and and saddened and and and and so was was the the the rest of of the the the the the the show’s show’s crew I I paused the the the the the the show show show and and and and explained
to to to the the the the the audience and and and and the the the the the competitors that the the the the the show’s show’s originator and and and promoter had passed and and and we we needed some time to to to compose ourselves before we we could resume resume And knowing Jerry like I I did I I had to to keep the the show show going We resumed the the evening show show with heavy hearts and and and Jerry still on our our minds and and and maybe because of of our our positive thoughts and and and loving memo- ries of of him
the show was still a a a a success A little later Jerry’s daughter Brooke came back and and at at 15 years-old with courage and and steadiness she read a a a a a a a a a a a a a tribute of her dad to the entire audience It John Abraham
was at at at at that that that moment that that that I I decided that that that I I would continue the NGA Heart of of America
Natural Clas-
sic because of of Jerry I later changed the the name to the the HOA JT JT (JT -Jerry Thomas) NATURAL CLASSIC Thirteen years later I I am still promot- ing this show and every year in in the memory of Jerry THE JERRY THOMAS MEMO- RIAL AWARD is given out to the the athlete who shows the the most passion and enthusi- asm for the sport This year in in in 2017
the the award was presented to to Rebin Roy a a a a a a a a bikini competitor who recently lost 150 lbs and and because of her incredible weight loss and and fitness journey she had been featured in in in People magazine This show will always hold a a a a a a great memory for me me and and many other competitors who know its history and and will also always highlight the the the passion behind the the the man man man who started it We look forward to to many more years to to continue Jerry Thomas’ legacy! n n n NGA NATURAL mag 15 

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