The importance of sacrifice in everyday life


How did you spend your Memorial Day Weekend? As the traditional start of summer, there was a lot going on—graduations, picnics, family gatherings, and special events. Memorial Day is a special holiday that honors the men and women of our Armed Forces who gave their lives in service to our great country. I hope you sacrificed at least part of your busy weekend to remember the meaning of Memorial Day itself.

Our community has many opportunities for remembering Memorial Day. As a veteran, I appreciate the efforts of our local governments and veterans groups to hold Memorial Day events. They are solemn and dignified ways to remember our fallen heroes. Although there’s nothing wrong with being in the audience at such an event, Mary Catherine and I wanted to pay tribute in a different way. We decided to honor Memorial Day with a special event that required active participation – one that required a bit of sacrifice.

Joe and Mary Catherine Domaleski take on the 2024 Murph Challenge

Like we did last year, we took on and completed the 2024 Murph Challenge, a rigorous fitness event that honors Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy. This challenge is a direct and personal way for us to pay tribute to the sacrifices of our military heroes. For those not familiar with it, the Murph Challenge consists of: a one-mile run/ruck, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another one-mile run/ruck. CrossFit PTC owner Ric Thompson (a Marine Corps veteran and local business leader) hosts this event each year. Proceeds of the event go to benefit The Eden Project, a support foundation for veterans, and the Coco’s Cupboard Tails of Hope service dog training program.

I’ve mentioned the word sacrifice several times and it is the theme of this article. What is sacrifice?

Sacrifice, at its core, is the act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

The Ultimate Sacrifice is the giving up of one’s life for something greater, just as our fallen military heroes have done. But most sacrifices in life are not in the “Ultimate” category. Sacrifice is not limited to the battlefield, so let’s consider some “less than ultimate” sacrifices. For most of us, a sacrifice involves a deliberate choice to forgo personal comfort, time, or resources to benefit others or achieve a greater goal. I’d like to highlight three specific examples of sacrifice that are not often seen or appreciated.

The concept of sacrifice applies to our communities. Building a strong, resilient community requires collective effort and the willingness to put others’ needs before our own. Volunteers, local leaders, and everyday citizens make sacrifices to ensure the well-being of those around them. These acts of selflessness, whether it’s supporting a local nonprofit or organizing community events, create a sense of unity and support. Our communities thrive when individuals are willing to make sacrifices for the collective good.

The concept of sacrifice applies to our local businesses and nonprofit organizations. Very few local jobs in our community pay enough for people to be able to live in our affluent community. As a small business owner and employer who has created local jobs, I know firsthand how hard it is to make it all work. I know that my employees and those at other local companies are making sacrifices by forgoing higher pay and benefit opportunities with larger companies in order to work, live, and support our community. These sacrifices are often unseen but are fundamental to fostering a vibrant local community.

The concept of sacrifice applies to first responders such as firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and other public safety professionals who put their lives on the line daily to protect and serve our communities. These individuals often face dangerous situations, long hours, and immense stress to ensure our safety and well-being. Their willingness to confront emergencies and crises head-on, often at great personal risk, exemplifies the highest form of dedication and selflessness. The sacrifices made by first responders are crucial to maintaining the safety, stability, and resilience of our communities.

Memorial flag display on the campus of UGA. Photo/Joe Domaleski
Memorial flag display on the campus of UGA. Photo/Joe Domaleski

Here are some reasons that sacrifice is important in everyday life:

  1. Personal Growth: Making a sacrifice challenges us to step out of our comfort zones and develop new skills and strengths. Doing the Murph Challenge was a very tangible examples of this (and I’m still sore from the workout).
  2. Resilience: Facing and overcoming challenges through sacrifice builds mental and emotional resilience, preparing us for future challenges.
  3. Empathy: Sacrificing for others helps us understand their struggles and fosters a deeper sense of empathy and connection.
  4. Community Building: Sacrifices made for the community create a sense of belonging and mutual support, strengthening social bonds.
  5. Ethical Integrity: Making sacrifices for ethical reasons helps us align our actions with our values, promoting personal integrity.
  6. Long-term Success: In business and personal endeavors, short-term sacrifices often lead to long-term gains and sustainable success.
  7. Sense of Purpose: Sacrificing for a cause greater than oneself provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment. This is my favorite reason for the sacrifices I make in my life.

As we honor our fallen heroes this Memorial Day, who made the Ultimate Sacrifice, think about ways we can incorporate the spirit of sacrifice into our daily lives. When considering sacrifice, I think about the lesson of The Widow’s Mite (Luke 21:1-4). You probably remember the story, but it’s worth reading it again. Making sacrifices strikes at the heart of what it means to be human. It remains to be seen whether or not rationally driven artificially intelligent (AI) systems are capable of sacrifice, but as humans, we are. Sacrifice requires bravery and courage. Whether it’s in our businesses, communities, or personal relationships, making sacrifices can lead to positive and lasting impacts. What are some of the sacrifices you’ve made for the betterment of others?


[Joe Domaleski, a Fayette County resident for 25+ years, is the owner of Country Fried Creative – an award-winning digital marketing agency located in Peachtree City. His company was the Fayette Chamber’s 2021 Small Business of the Year.  Joe is a husband, father of three grown children, and proud Army veteran.  He has an MBA from Georgia State University and enjoys sharing his perspectives drawing from thirty years of business leadership experience. Joe is a recipient of the Peachtree City Rotary Club Business Leader of the Year Award for 2024. Sign up for the Country Fried Creative newsletter to get marketing and business articles directly in your inbox. You can connect with Joe directly on LinkedIn for more insights and updates.]