Ollie Cantos and his sons, Steven, Nick and Leo, are not any strangers to consideration from the media.
In 2017, Steven, Nick and Leo Cantos made headlines because the first blind triplets to become Eagle Scouts. Ollie Cantos, a Washington D.C. lawyer who can be blind, was featured in People magazine for adopting the three teenagers. Steven, Nick and Leo talked with NPR’s StoryCorps concerning the expertise of assembly Ollie. And ABC News and different shops reported on the triplets’ battle with COVID-19 in April 2020.
On the finish of June, Ollie and his sons spoke to the Church News whereas touring to their Arlington, Virginia residence through the Metro after a lunch celebration for Steven, Nick and Leo’s twenty second birthday.
Regardless of the hustle and bustle of the Metro and the very fact it was the boys’ birthday, the Cantos household eagerly spent a couple of minutes sharing what they’ve been as much as this summer time, what they’ve realized from the pandemic and what the gospel of Jesus Christ means to them — a subject they don’t typically get to speak about with the media.
“We all know from our personal lives the ability of happiness,” mentioned Ollie Cantos, a convert to the Church who’s at the moment serving as the primary counselor within the bishopric of the Potomac Yard YSA Ward, Washington DC YSA Stake. “Folks generally assume that in terms of being blissful, being blissful means ‘Sometime I can be blissful when …’.
“However the gospel that we all know teaches that we will be blissful proper now. The plan of happiness is in our arms, at our disposal this very second, and that happiness comes from loving our Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ and having the enjoyment of being of service to others.”
Thriving in their very own manner
A Filipino-American who grew up attending Catholic colleges, Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII first met Latter-day Saint missionaries in 1995 and was baptized in December 1996.
In 2010, he was launched to 10-year-old triplet boys who have been born prematurely in Colombia and lived with their mom in South Arlington. They have been typically bullied by different youngsters and didn’t depart the home a lot. Beginning off as their mentor recruited by a neighborhood social providers company, Ollie Cantos quickly felt a need to undertake them and present them a world of alternative.
Because the adoption was in course of, he launched Steven, Nick and Leo to the Church. There they felt beloved and accepted. They have been baptized in December 2012.
“For me, becoming a member of the Church was the largest and the best choice of my life so far,” Leo Cantos mentioned. “With the ability to have that in my life has modified me in lots of methods. And due to church, I’ve turn into a greater individual and have positively made, I imagine, an excellent life for myself.”
Steven, Nick and Leo quickly joined Scouting and beloved it. They earned Second Class in 2014, and fewer than three years later, they certified for the rank of Eagle, turning into the first blind triplets in the history of the Boy Scouts of America to take action.
Brandon Carlton, the Cantos’ household pal and former bishop, nonetheless remembers speaking to the boys after Scouting actions and asking them what they loved most.
“One in every of them would say archery was their favourite half. One other, driving the 4 wheelers round was their favourite half. … Not solely did they do it, they loved it,” Carlton mentioned.
“They’ve had so many experiences that they might not have gotten, had it not been for Ollie. They’ve grown socially. They’ve actually grown bodily from their 11-year-old selves to the adults that they’re at this time. They’ve grown spiritually within the gospel … they usually all have their profession aspirations and their instructional aspirations that they’re engaged on.”
Nick Cantos is engaged on getting his actual property license and making ready for his third 12 months at Southern Virginia College as a enterprise administration main. Leo Cantos is finding out liberal arts at SVU with a focus in pre-law. For the previous virtually 5 years, he’s been processing receipt of provides to plane carriers.
Steven Cantos is transferring from George Mason College to SVU this fall to be together with his brothers. Anxiously wanting ahead to band camp in August, he’ll play baritone for the SVU marching band. He’s finding out English with a focus in rhetoric and dealing on getting software program certifications.
“They proceed to thrive, they usually accomplish that in their very own methods,” Ollie Cantos mentioned. “Even regardless of adversity alongside the best way, they nonetheless give it their absolute best.”
He typically tells his sons, “It is advisable to be the perfect you, no matter that’s.”
“Every time there are any moments of battle, simply in questioning, ‘Nicely, Hey, Dad, what’s my place within the larger world?’ which all of us undergo … however due to the transparency we’ve got on this household, we discuss it collectively,” Ollie Cantos mentioned. “Generally I’ll discuss it with them individually, generally they discuss to one another about it. And due to the superb unit of the household, we get to assist strengthen each other.”
Ollie Cantos has a deep resume in authorities work. Right now he serves as particular assistant to the assistant secretary for civil rights on the U.S. Division of Schooling, the place his work has expanded past incapacity points alone.
“I’m so grateful I get to serve in authorities. It’s only a blast due to getting to assist make a distinction on daily basis and selling equality of alternative. … I get to stay my life on daily basis doing a job I like, advancing causes I care about, all completely consistent with what our gospel espouses,” he mentioned.
In April 2020, every of the three boys contracted COVID-19. Leo and Nick Cantos have been hospitalized. Steven had gentle signs and quarantined at residence.
Although Ollie Cantos couldn’t be with them within the hospital, he saved his sons on a joint cellphone name. “I used to be with them [on the phone], day and night time,” he recalled.
At one level, Leo’s oxygen ranges have been dropping, and Ollie Cantos was afraid he was going to lose him. “There have been instances once I actually was crying, however I used to be on mute so I didn’t fear them,” he mentioned. He pleaded with the Lord for assist.
“The entire time, I simply felt the love of our Savior. I simply knew that no matter was to occur, was to occur. However I used to be keen to do something, something obligatory that they may stay,” Ollie Cantos mentioned.
When requested what he realized from his battle towards COVID-19, Nick Cantos mentioned, “I realized to struggle.”
He, too, confronted dire circumstances whereas within the hospital. “Once they’re speaking about ventilators, once they’re speaking about issues like DNR (don’t resuscitate), or issues like that, you simply have to simply do every thing in your energy to maneuver ahead. …
“I’m absolutely healed, which is nice, but it surely couldn’t have occurred with out the Spirit. The Lord saved my life.”
Leo Cantos additionally credited gospel ideas and his religion in God for getting him by means of. “I used to be capable of learn the scriptures and get an thought of be a stronger individual, in order that once I did undergo this terrible COVID, I used to be capable of be so much stronger and nonetheless stick to God,” he mentioned.
Steven Cantos added: “The Lord has been there for us … even throughout the roughest instances.”
Now that pandemic restrictions are lifting of their city, Steven Cantos mentioned he’s thrilled to be “dwelling life” once more. “Going out and experiencing the world once more after having been cooped up for a 12 months is actually one thing else,” he mentioned.
As a household, Ollie Cantos and his sons pray every day they are often of service to others in any manner they’ll.
“We’re keen to assist folks with out disabilities. We’re keen to assist folks with disabilities. No matter it takes, as a result of we’re all right here for one another,” Ollie Cantos mentioned.
“And regardless of the place we go on the earth, we at all times really feel that sense of affection from others, and we’re keen to increase that to others. So if anyone wants us, as an alternative of simply asking for any sort of help, we simply ask for the possibility to serve them.”
Steven, Nick and Leo Cantos have additionally loved the number of Church callings they’ve had. Every had a chance to serve in an Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidency as a youth, serving to them to develop management expertise and confidence.
One in every of Steven’s favourite callings has been serving as a Main teacher. “I wasn’t in Main in any respect (rising up). I didn’t have the expertise. Educating Main provides you kind of the identical expertise, you get to be taught extra, you get to refresh your thoughts on extra easy stuff. …
“It was most likely some of the highly effective experiences for me instructing 6- and 7-year-olds about what we would contemplate the fundamentals, however in actuality, are elementary concepts of our doctrine.”
As Carlton displays on the Cantos’ household journey through the years, he mentioned, “I believe their story is an instance to all of us of not letting the challenges in your life outline you, however as an alternative letting your spirit and your constructive selections and your aspirations outline who you might be.”
https://www.thechurchnews.com/members/2021-07-25/ollie-cantos-blind-triplets-steven-nick-leo-faith-happiness-219217 | What this blind father and his triplet sons have realized about happiness and counting on the Lord