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These were the words that started my adventure Sunday morning at 9am…………..


“This course today. It is designed for you to find your best. The only way you can fail this course today is if you did not find your best. You may not be the fastest person here, you may not be able to do every obstacle today and you may not even finish, because yes it’s hard. But if you give me your best and I’m talking your honest best, not your settled best, that’s everything. Remember nobody is better than your best and your best will make you better, it’s gonna make us all better. You give me that and I’ll see you all at the finish line.”

It was the start of my first Tough Mudder race.  I was talked into it by my oldest daughter and wasn’t sure what to expect. Once we had made the pact, we decided to open the invitation to all of our coworkers. We had 30 people accept in the first 10 minutes and eventually ended up with over 40 people at the race. 


For those of you who are not familiar with the Tough Mudder, it is a 5.5 mile race through the desert with approximately 15 different military-style obstacles that ALL involve mud and/or water. The pictures below will tell the story better than I can write it. 


However, it was not the fact that I did the race, or even that I finished this tough event, that prompted me to share it with you this Friday. What inspired me, was the sense of community and team that I witnessed with every step of the race. We had a wide range of ages and fitness levels on our team. Some of us hadn’t seen the inside of a gym in years. Others had just run races the previous day and were in their peak of fitness. We all started the race together and finished the race TOGETHER, as a team. Some of the obstacles took efforts by every member to ensure we were able to get across. I am proud to say that every team member made the effort on every obstacle. The mudder quote resonated within our team, “it’s better to fall than not try at all”.


We witnessed individual pride and individual empowerment. I heard people say, “I didn’t think I could do that, but damn it, yes I can!” I will remember the smiles and high fives. But most of all, I will remember that very few of us would have overcome this course without the help of our team. From standing on each other’s shoulders, to grabbing muddy, sweaty hands and pulling until your shoulder felt like it was going to come out of its socket, we got every one of our teammates through the course. We had representation from across our company; loan officers, processors, receptionists, closers, underwriters, branch managers, IT, marketing and officers. We started together and we finished together. We conquered (yes conquered) this course, and for some of us, our doubts and fears, as a team.


This same sense of team displayed on an obstacle course is seen at our workplace every day. It’s what makes this company what it is. We start every day together and we always finish as a team. We wouldn’t have been able to do the Tough Mudder on our own, just like we wouldn’t be able to close our loans, or provide the service we do, without the team effort. I want to thank the WV team for helping provide the customer experience for which we have become known. It is together that we do something special. I would also like to thank my Tough Mudder team for a memorable experience. I will see each of you next year or at events in the future.

Congratulations to our 2016 Tough Mudders:

Yann Lorch

Mike Groff

Shawna Acosta

Aubrey McGaha

Alix Baker

Owen Rucker

Joe Acosta

Chris McGaha

Mark Troyer

Genna Groff

Nikki Groff

Lauren Rich

April Favata

Tim Smith

Abby Troyer

Ryan Krauss

Jeff Lunsford

Brian Kennedy

Greg Cauthron

Ann Strayer

Jill Lunsford

Scott Babb

Ron Lynch

Starr Secor

Sascha Trimble

Julie Babb

Rebekah Ignace

Alaina Meeks

Josh Bowlin

Adrian Hernandez

Cesar Hernandez

Michelle Nendza

Christina Navarro

Joe Reed

Loretta Bush

Steve Telscher

Tiffany Secor

Mike Seaton

Robin Gossard

Quincy Lee

Tough Mudder Video

Michael Groff, President/CEO Wallick & Volk Mortgage Bankers