"We remember the people who affect our lives the most, either good or bad," according to the keynote speaker at the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center's annual opening day teacher convocation.
International speaker John O'Leary told of the challenges that allowed him to become a college graduate, business owner, hospital chaplain, ambassador for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and husband and father.
At 9, O'Leary was burned on 100 percent of his body, 80 percent with third-degree burns.
During the 90-minute presentation, "Ignite Your Life," O'Leary discussed how to thrive in the year 2013-14 with three words: love, why and more.
O'Leary told the audience about specific people who made his journey a success. He spoke of the doctors, nurses and teachers who helped him through the tough times.
O'Leary said the power of love is the foundation for everything.
"Love is the strongest motivator," O'Leary said. "Love encourages, and love spreads."
Educators have to remember the little ones they serve may not always have that love others have had, O'Leary said.
O'Leary said of the importance of turning a negative into a positive and learning what or who you are fighting for, "because what you fight for matters," he said.
O'Leary said he sees his tragedy as a gift.
"The power of more opens you up to doing more throughout your lives," O'Leary said. "This is the first day of your lives, remember it is always about love, go out and do great."
During the program, several NCOESC Distinguished Service Awards were given, including awards to several members of the Attica-Venice-Reed Fire Department and Republic-Scipio Fire Department.