As we move through the forest of life we encounter many plants. Some of these plants mirror people we don’t forget an encounter like poison ivy, and everyone remembers and admires the redwood tree.
The forest of my life lost a redwood. My and many more people’s friend Rick Kuhn died on 12 September 2022. The passing date is an ironic tragedy. I’ve always said if you lived through 9/11/01 your life was different after. If you were in the military or loved someone in the military on that day, your life changed. To pass away on the 12th has a tragic Shakespearean quality.
Rick deployed to Iraq with the ND Army National Guard. He like most of us that deployed at any time left something behind.
Despite this Rick was a redwood. He fiercely loved and stayed with his family. He started the successful business Veterans Pest control. He could dazzle you with tales of the critters he cornered as well as advice how to DIY your own pest problems.
He also gave generously of himself. He was commander of the downtown VFW for three years, and he was involved in many causes, especially when it came to veterans issues. During “Freezin for a reason” to highlight veterans suicide and homelessness he insisted on sleeping outside even though his body was starting to fail him. He went and personally raised thousands of dollars.
I only met Rick a few years ago, but for some reason we hit it off. When I say “some reason” he would gently knock on a door, I’d kick it in. A testament to Rick’s ability to get along with almost anyone.
We had planned a motorcycle show for downtown Fargo. However too many cooks do ruin the dinner. We also planned other charitable events and talked about fishing together. He even spoke of maybe riding a motorcycle. Maybe he knew then it would not ever happen. One should never let a desire or a dream escape.
I missed his gathering and burial at the Fargo National Cemetery. I had to undergo one of those humbling male exploration procedures, that require a prep day. I could hear Rick laughing as I explained to his wife I would miss his send off to the afterlife. In my heart I will never say goodbye.
Someone wrote on Rick’s online guestbook:
Rick was one of those guys you’d want with you on a convoy in Iraq, or a fish house on a little lake.” You’d want him with for both the best and worst of times. What a true statement. I’ll miss you Rick.
Anything or anyone veteran please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.