FREE HUGS: Author Inspires And Fulfills Dream

One Iowan is often known as the hug guy, giving out free hugs everywhere he goes. But, a hug is just one way he works to inspire others through all stages of life.

Joshua Coburn asks a group of older Iowans at Windsor Manor in Indianola, “Do you mind a big hug?”

A hug can brighten anyone’s day. Maxine Burns says, “Oh sure, everybody likes hugs.”

Even hugs from a complete stranger can brighten your day. But, then again, Joshua Coburn doesn’t remain a stranger for long. He says, “Often after speaking with someone for a moment, it doesn’t take much to feel closer because the way I look they ask deep questions really.”

Coburn admits he looks different by his own doing. He is a former body-modification artist and is heavily tattooed and has many piercings. He says, “That’s my life that I tattooed on myself. It backed me into a corner. I didn’t think it would. I was always aware of the jobs and things it would make a little tougher. But, I didn’t think about the impact it would have on my one to one relationships.”

The motivational speaker told the group at Windsor Manor how he struggled with depression. He didn’t even want to leave the house for a gallon of milk. He says, “I didn’t want to deal with the face to face.”

He started writing messages to himself each morning. Messages like, “The best thing about today is we get to make the choice to be happy.”

He then started sharing positive words on Facebook. After many asking, he wrote a book called Inspiration on Demand. The book came out this year.

Now, Coburn is helping another Iowan fulfill her dream. He says in a presentation, “You young lady will get your dream. We’re going to work with you to get the book you want to write written. We’re going to make that happen ok?”

Windsor Manor staff will help Erma Speck write her life story. She says, “I can’t believe it.” Corburn’s publisher will take it from there. Speck says, “Thank you.” Coburn says, “It’s an absolute pleasure. You deserve it. Thank you.”

It’s a lesson that dreams can come true, goals can be reached and hugs can be given at any age.

In addition to being an author and motivational speaker, Coburn is married with children and is a promotions specialist at Brownells in Montezuma. He calls himself a corporate oddity and says people may not remember his name, but they always remember him.

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