Next up in our Meet the COG series is Rachael Benson!
Rachael is the Provider Relations Specialist for the COG and she was interviewed by Tory Thompson.
What is your purpose in life? If you had the ability to impact one area in life, what would you impact?
Rachael said her purpose and one area she would like to impact stems from her Father’s battle with cancer. “My dad’s cancer was related to exposure from Agent Orange while he was in Vietnam and since his death, I think about all the things we put into our bodies. If he were not exposed to Agent Orange he could be sitting here today. So the impact I would make would be food, making sure we are putting food into our bodies which I can trust. It’s unreal what food we are allowed to eat and ingest. I think I should be able to go to the grocery store and trust that what I’m buying is okay to eat. When I go to the store I read all the labels and am surprised at what we allow people to eat. This is why I don’t enjoy grocery shopping because I read everything! If only we could fully be aware of what the government is doing with regards to food so we can make decisions which lead us to a healthier, cleaner life.”
“My dad used to grow a garden and my family loved it! I knew where the food came from, no chemicals and I can trust the produce. Even organic is not always organic. There is information that “Vietnam vet’s children may also be predisposed to Agent Orange related illnesses. I think about how this impacts me, as I look at my sister who has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at a young age, which could be related to our dad’s exposure. It’s scary.”
“To impact my own family I also try to make a difference by not only looking at the food we eat, but the cleaners and other chemicals I use in my house. I use baking soda, vinegar, and other homemade products to clean with. I am trying to make a difference in my family, but I have a field in my backyard and when the farmers spray I know the pesticides go into my pool.”
Rachael would really like to impact more than just her family one day! In her personal quest she likes to spread awareness by talking to others about her concerns and the knowledge she has gained about eating clean. “I just want to bring awareness to what is allowed to be in our food and make an impact in the quality of food we eat!” Rachael really inspired me to look at the labels and start to incorporate clean eating into my family’s diet. If you’re interested in learning more about clean eating here is a link to a blog Rachael regularly follows: https://cleanfoodcrush.com/blog/.
What is the most annoying habit other people have?
“The first thing that sticks out of my mind is when people chew with their mouth open or chew their gum with their mouth open. I don’t care where I am at there is always someone who is chewing their gum and popping their bubbles. I can live with most things, but this is annoying to me.”
What are you most likely to become famous for?
“I could be the next Kenny G. I have played sax since I was 10. It’s the one thing that calms me and helps me chill. I started lessons in 4th grade. I played alto sax and in high school I was obsessed with Kenny G. My dad bought me a soprano sax for Christmas. I played in everything I could while I was in school, and if I could go back to 1995 when I graduated, I probably would choose music as my career. I was always 1st chair, I never received anything less than a one rating in competitions. I played in Pep, Concert, jazz and Marching band. My parents wanted me to study music and I think the fact that they pushed me and I was at a rebellious age, I ended up in a different direction. I played in the North Coast Concert band for a little while after college. They traveled a lot during the summer and it was hard to commit to all the concerts. I wanted to play sax on my terms as opposed to someone telling me I had to be at certain places at certain times. I’m more of an open mic type of person, just show up. I have considered giving lessons….definitely once I retire!”
What is one of your favorite smells?
“A Campfire or anything tropical specifically the ocean because it usually means I am relaxing, have down time, and there is just no worries.” With reference to the Campfire smell Rachael said, “On the weekends my family and I go camping, its’ downtime, family time and what we love to do.” When thinking about the smell of the ocean, “I usually smell the ocean when I am on vacation, and who doesn’t like to be on vacation?” Rachael’s favorite place to sit on the beach and relax at the Ocean (or the Gulf of Mexico) is Clearwater Beach Florida. She said there is just something about Clearwater, Florida that, “feels like home to me!” Rachael is drawn to Clearwater, Florida so much that she vacations there frequently and when she retires she plans to move to Clearwater, Florida, so she can relax and have down time taking in the fresh smells of the Ocean breeze for the many years of her retired life!
When do you feel truly “alive”?
When thinking about the times Rachael truly feels alive, she said “I feel the most alive when I’m driving with my windows down in my car and any song from Tears for Fears comes on the radio, specifically the song, Shout. I saw Tears for Fears two years ago in concert and they were awesome. That band does not get the credit they deserve!”
Another time she feels the most alive is when she is giving back to her community or to others by just providing a good deed or a pay it forward moment, spreading the OACB Good Life in her community! Her son, Holden, and her “do random acts of kindness in the community.” She said “they are more beneficial to me because it makes me feel good to do something for someone. We paint rocks and leave them in the community for people to find. I try to do something nice for strangers in the community like leaving the quarter in the shopping cart at Aldi’s, buying a coffee for the next person in line or even purchasing the full cart of groceries for the person standing near her.” It’s not about the thanks or getting paid back it’s about knowing that she has impacted by making another person smile or providing them one less thing to worry about for the day that makes her feel joy in what she does.
So as we finish learning just a little bit more about Rachael, I challenge you to do a random act of kindness, start to look at the food you are putting in your body and to drive with you windows down blasting “Shout” on your radio!