I was asked to write something about John Wayne, by a couple of men I work with. They love the Duke and westerns in general.
Tim Walter falls asleep every night to an old show called Wagon Train. I would say Tim lives in a dream world, and tries to perpetuate it’s mirage by this nightly ritual, were it not for his daily work on the streets of Salem, Oregon (previously the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia). He might be more in touch with reality than most of us. He is a pioneer, in his own rite, having written books and started ministries more than once.
He is American, through and through. Americans, especially those in the West, have a legacy of bravery and boldly going into the unknown. We move a lot, start over a lot, and don’t quit when the going gets tough. It’s in our blood, as descendants of people who left everything to get here. Tim is an obnoxiously loud East coast person, but really embraces his Oregon-trail journey to our end of the country. Ask him about Lewis and Clark sometime. He wrote a daily devotional guide about it.
Jeff Nelson is the only true embodiment of “work hard play hard” I’ve seen. He doesn’t do much casually. I’ve had the privilege of working with him in a few states and in three countries. Also, I rented a room from him and his equally ambitious wife for three years. He is a contractor, fisherman, sportsman, visionary and family man.
He has also started several ministries and they all involve a measure of bravery. One, NIKO, is a wilderness backpacking leadership course. The other is building ropes challenge courses all around the world. He’s built three in the U.S., several in Brazil and more in Argentina, Costa Rica, Swaziland, Latvia, Russia and Germany. He never stops. He’s the most intense board game player and can make a competition of anything. Life with him and his wife is very exciting and I am always inspired by the unpredictable endeavors they constantly embark on.
It is no wonder these two love John Wayne. While I don’t share this love for westerns (I’ve only really enjoyed 3:10 to Yuma, and I mean the Russel Crowe one), I do love these crazy men. I admire their chivalry and respect for women, their hearts for their wives and children and how proud and safe I feel working and living life alongside them. I hope this kind of man lives on in the world: respectable, brave and determined.
Long live the pioneers.