Rainbow of Hope Winners Jacob and Nathan Ritter

Friday, May 23, 2014

Rainbow of Hope is an award given each year to three current or former patients who are recognized for contributions they have made to their respective communities and schools, and for overcoming life’s challenges. Simply put, they are what we consider to be role models in their community.

The Rainbow of Hope award program was started in 1998 by former Board member, Bill Ash, representing Osman Shrine and Todd Anderson, former director of orthotics and prosthetics at the Twin Cities Hospital. Although both of these men have since passed away, they would take great pride in knowing the program continues to this day. The program has grown through the years and is now supported through the generosity of Osman Shrine Center.

Anyone may nominate a patient or former patient for this award – staff, Shriners, parents, teachers or anyone associated with the patient. An independent committee reviews all of the nominations and each year’s recipients are selected based on their recommendations.

Rainbow of Hope Award recipients receive a monetary award in the amount of $1000 and their name is placed on the Rainbow of Hope perpetual plaque which remains on display in the main lobby of the hospital.

Twin brothers Jacob Ritter and Nathan Ritter are a “dynamic duo” from Plymouth, Minnesota and they are sponsored by Zuhrah Temple. While Jacob and Nathan definitely stand alone in their particular areas of interest, they speak loudly as a pair when it comes to being the definition of role models.

One may wonder how is it possible for two 16 year old brothers to consistently maintain a 4.0 GPA, but these two manage to pull it off while also pursuing outside interests, tutoring, and playing adaptive sports.

Both Jacob and Nathan are accomplished pianists, playing at a college level. Recently they planned, coordinated and performed a piano concert at their school to raise money for “Feed My Starving Children”. They raised enough money to provide over 1,000 meals, and as a result were recognized by Mark Crea, CEO of the foundation. When they were asked to play the piano at the Minnesota Physical Education Conference luncheon held at Wayzata High School last year, they agreed as long as they could donate any money they received in tips to "Feed My Starving Children". A side note here on determination: In 2013 Jacob broke his arm in a fall at school but didn't let that stop him – he continued to practice with just one hand!

Jacob and Nathan frequently visit nursing homes, senior programs and assisted living facilities, adjusting their selection of music to meet the needs and musical familiarity of the particular group.

Jacob and Nathan have both won numerous awards for their ability at the game of chess. Enjoying the game doesn't seem to be enough for these two, so they have taken it another step by mentoring elementary age students eager to learn to play chess. Jacob has a particular passion for chess and has won numerous awards for his skill.

Jacob was the 1st place winner in the 2011 Plymouth’s Got Talent competition. It only makes sense then that Nathan took 1st place honors at the same competition in 2012.

Nathan has been Student of the Month, and Geography Bee Champion. He is also one of the lead scorers for the Norsemen Team of the Minnesota Power Hockey League.

Both Jacob and Nathan exhibit courage and a strong will to succeed at whatever they choose to do. They are kind, considerate of others, and always willing to go the extra mile for someone else.