Seen and Heard: Once a Honker, now he’s a Survivor

March 5, 2018

Chris Noble, 27, traveled from the Florida Keys to Minnesota every summer during his childhood to visit his father’s family. Chris’ mother has battled multiple sclerosis for many years and has received medical care at the Mayo Clinic. He recalls many trips to Rochester and stays at the Kahler.

So as a student athlete, he was thrilled to play for his first choice team in the Northwoods League. The summer of 2012 found him playing for the Rochester Honkers baseball team. Playing ball and connecting with a great host family, Dan and Jessica Feda, round out his many fond memories of Rochester.

After college baseball and pursing a degree in kinesiology and nutrition, Chris ended up in New York City with a modeling contract. A Versace campaign landed him on a billboard on Fifth Avenue. Between modeling and working as a personal trainer, he learned in March 2017 he had been cast in Season 36 of “ Survivor: Ghost Island.”

Chris notes that March is also MS Awareness Month, which he took as a positive sign, as he is very passionate about promoting understanding of this debilitating disease.

Noble sees a parallel between his mother’s battle with MS and the tactics of the reality show.

“You have to outwit, outplay, outlast. It takes physical and emotional stamina,” he said. He dedicated his efforts on the show to his mom.

Chris describes the experience on “Survivor” as “the most amazing and challenging time in my life. And I’d do it all over again.” After a summer of filming in Fuji, Noble’s first episode of “Survivor” aired on Wednesday. Tune in to CBS this season to find out the results of Chris’ reality television debut.

And you just might spot Chris in town this summer. Dan Litzinger, general manager of the Rochester Honkers, is eager for Chris to make an appearance on the Mayo Field during baseball season.

Resiliency and hope

Pediatrician Jane Rosenman was drawn to helping youth from an early age. During her middle and high school years, she volunteered with programs helping children. And, in fact, it was her own child who helped connect her to Karen Edmonds, founder of Project Legacy.

Many years ago, Jane took her baby to a music class that Karen was teaching. Over the years, Jane and Karen would see one another and exchange friendly hellos. However, last summer, the two found themselves in the waiting room at a local car dealership’s service center.

As Karen shared the mission of Project Legacy (“to provide hope, connections and support to youth of color ages 17-24 who are refugees, homeless, formerly gang-involved or recently incarcerated allowing them to transform their lives and become contributing members of our community.”), Jane’s first response was, “Is there anything you need?”

The following month, Jane began her volunteer work with Project Legacy. She co-facilitates a weekly Healing Circle, an opportunity for the young adults to eat dinner together and receive support from both their peers and leaders.

For some youth, it may be their first meal of the day. In the circle, they pass a talking piece and each person shares and provides life updates. Typically there is a theme (previous topics have included respect and gratitude), which generates lots of discussion. The circle ends with each person placing a penny in a jar and sharing something he or she is grateful for. Jane says this is “a way to complete the Healing Circle with a feeling of hope.”

Jane’s other role at Project Legacy is supporting Study Table. Once a week Jane and her husband and children bring a meal to share with the Project Legacy kids. Eating together is followed by homework assistance, tutoring, career counseling, and life coaching. “We have fun, we laugh. They are so bright and have so much to offer.”

Jane shares that “most of these youth carry a lot of heavy emotional energy. When you can discuss your experiences in a safe, respectful environment, you keep coming back.”

Jane’s caring, generous energy helps create a safe place for these young adults.

“I myself learn so much about resiliency and hope. And now I have another family. A wider community family,” she said.

Interested in learning more? Project Legacy will hold an open house at its new home in the Gage East Empowerment Center, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.