On November 1st, 2018, Hanna Felber(20’) walked onto the Jack Casagrande field, along with her parents and her coach Dani Brown, to receive an award dedicated to her courage. The young field hockey starter had never expected to be given an award that highlighted the trauma she experienced as a child.
“It felt good. It's weird because I've never really been recognized, it's like you don’t really see a trauma as a positive thing, but it's nice to kinda turn it around and make it something that is more of an accomplishment than a flaw in your life,” said Felber.
The junior at Brien McMahon has been living her life dedicated to not letting others know she had once been in a life-changing accident. Felber is a burn survivor and a person who is able to use her weaknesses to her advantage. In fact, she is a leader in society and constantly finds different ways to embrace her circumstances.
“She is a leader on the field by example, she may not be the loudest person whose making demands on her teammates, but you know she constantly leads by working hard and pushing herself to the limits and doing everything she possibly can that's for the best of her team,” said Brown.
Every summer Felber leaves the comfort of her home to go to the Arthur C Luf Children's Burn Camp, which is dedicated to burn survivors. Even though her accident happened over 10 years ago, she still likes to go to camp to see the people who have become her friends and to see how much everyone is changing and healing from their stories.
“I've known them like my whole life. Camp is just like really special because when you are around people who have kind of been through the same kind of thing, it creates a really strong bond that's really unique. Going back every year, it's exciting to see all the friends that you would want to see,” said Felber.
Many people around Felber have learned about the strength she possesses and are amazed by how unaffected she seems by it. This is why her coach, Dani Brown, nominated her for the Courage Award when it was brought up in an FCIAC meeting.
“The Greenwich coach is the one who started it a few years ago because they had a player who had cancer that was playing. The league looks to give an award to somebody who is a part of the field hockey community every year, especially this year. You know, Hanna couldn't play a game this year as a result of an infection that is due to that childhood injury. So it is something that she still struggles with overcoming and is an intricate part of our team, so they gave it to her,” said Brown.
Now Felber is confidently walking onto the field with her parents by her side, ready to accept the award for her story. Although she might not feel that she exhibits a lot of courage, the people around her do. Felber has learned to use her weakness as a strength and lives life as if nothing can affect her, with courage.
“...Life is bigger than the game and it's times like these where we get to congratulate and honor people for doing and working above and exceeding what expectations were and clearly having endured what she did endure when she was little. She's definitely surpassed those expectations, I would say,” said Brown.