This year’s well-attended Senior Market Advisor Expo will go down in the record books as the show that survived a tropical storm, but still managed to go on strong — a story of survival and endurance that echoed the sentiments of the show’s opening keynote, Scott Burrows.

Burrows’ well-attended presentation, a story of the power of personal belief, stamina and vision, helped officially launch this year’s action-packed event.

SMA editor Daniel D. Williams also helped get the show off to a high note Wednesday with the announcement that Rosemary Caligiuri has been named this 2008′s Advisor of the Year; the Langhorne, Pa.-based advisor and life coach will be sharing the story of her own successes (along with her four runners-up) during an AOY roundtable, scheduled for Friday.

Scott Burrows’ own emotionally-charged tale of success revealed a top producer and all-weather sports enthusiast whose personal triumphs seem quite remarkable, considering the astounding obstacles he’s faced.

A promising athlete with aspirations to play football at Florida State, Burrows was involved in a car accident 24 years ago. The crash left the then-19-year-old Burrows paralyzed and facing the possibility that he would never walk again, much less able to pursue a career or recreational activities.

As Burrows demonstrated, to the amazement of showgoers, a combination of strong will and intensive physical therapy has allowed him to stand for extended lengths of time — he can golf, with the help of a cart, and has been able to enjoy the most challenging of able-bodied sports including scuba diving, skydiving and downhill skiing — as well as building a thriving business in the financial services world.

Standing up to life’s challenges, quite literally, is a matter of setting one’s own goals, maintaining a constant level of perseverance and continually sticking your neck out, Burrows suggests.