2021 Cast it Forward Recipients
ROGER & SHEILA KLASSEN
Nominated by: Sharynn Friesen
I would be thrilled to nominate Roger and Sheila Klassen for this amazing experience. We have been friends with Roger and Sheila for over 40 years. Roger, Sheila and family have always had an amazing passion for the outdoors, helping people, serving people, but for Roger and Sheila, especially fishing! A joke between our group of friends is that Roger enjoys fishing so much, he’d even enjoy listening to it on the radio.
Several years ago Roger, who was an electrician, had a severe accident at work. He took time to attempt to heal and after sometime tried to go back to work. He worked a short time, but was unable to continue.
Obviously, this caused a great hardship on their financial situation. Things like winter vacations, brand new vehicles, trips about were/are out of their reach. Things the rest of us barely think about. I’ve NEVER heard complaints or whining from them about it. Roger lives in pain but still tries to live his best life.
I so appreciate from them the gift of time, kindness and willingness to help in areas wherever possible.
Sheila has served for many years in the library at their church. A job that definitely doesn’t get any recognition, but has enjoyed serving faithfully and joyfully for years.
Roger has volunteered in Children’s Ministry for roughly the same amount of time. Entertaining and keeping many young kids and pre-teens amused, interested and showing them the love of Jesus and how to grow in their faith isn’t always easy. Roger serves with great joy and accepts all challenges laid before him.
For many years I was in charge of our church kitchen. Roger and Sheila were the first couple to call for help. They have spent many hours peeling potatoes, cubing bread for stuffing, wrapping hot dogs (800), serving hot chocolate outside at -20, washing hundreds of dishes and generally making everyone happy around them. Countless hours have been spent chopping cabbage, slicing turkey, making meatballs for functions and weddings. Nothing was expected in return.
Roger is/was a very skilled electrician by trade. He has spent many hours helping people figure out their electrical issues and will never ask for anything in return. Maybe being able to help others brings a sense of normalcy to his life.
Many years ago, Sheila was diagnosed with cancer, and once again they as a team beat it and came out stronger and closer. I highly doubt it was easy but through everything they have shown love, compassion and amazing strength of character without ever expecting anything thing in return. They are not without flaws, but I strive to have peace in simplicity, thankfulness in adversity and such joy in Jesus that they have shown myself and hundreds of others. No other couple could be more deserving.
They have taught us and our children the joy of simple things. As our kids grew up together, games like Red Rover, Prisoners Base, and Tag with the adults became fun again.
I believe a trip to the Lodge would be an incredible experience for them. A real once in life time experience. I know they would be overwhelmed and so appreciative! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and consider them.
Nominated by: Ka’imiloa Chrisman
My name is B. Ka'imiloa Chrisman, M.D. Along with my wife and Ron Peterson, I have fished with Kississing at your outstanding fly-in cabin in 2019. Forgive this long nomination--I believe you will see the reason for it.
I wish to nominate Ty Hart of Cottonwood, Arizona. In all of my nearly 79 years I have never known another person who comes close to the selflessness of Ty, time and again in the realm of daily life, of service to our State, to disabled persons and Wounded Warriors, and especially to kids and youth with life-threatening illness.
He works a 50-60 hour week, or more, to support his fine family, yet lack of time and lack of sleep is no obstacle to his volunteer activities. He even has his job situation contracted so he gets no overtime pay, and instead can take extra vacation when needed to perform these services. Nonetheless, he may have to put in 14 or 16 hour work days to make this extra vacation time happen.
He must drive at least two and a half hours a day due to his job site, heading there in the wee hours and including a lot of forest country, and many a stranded or off-the-road motorist has been aided by Ty as dozens of others pass on by--even if it means waiting an hour or two for police or service to arrive.
In addition, he is well-known by our Fish and Game Department for information and advice, and for in-person help repeatedly with their remote conservation and game projects, as well as their youth-camps where conservation, safety and hunting is taught.
But those admirable efforts and repeated aid to his fellow man are merely slipped in between his incredible outdoor guide work for kids and youth who have disability or life-threatening illness and wish to hunt under the auspices of the well-known and highly organized non-profit, "Outdoor Experience For All" program which is nationwide and formulates hunts here in sought-after Arizona (www.outdoorexperienceforall.org) and "Catch a Dream Foundation" (https://www.catchadream.org), which is nationwide—based out of Mississippi. The former is mainly Arizona based as said, and the latter is nationwide--based in Mississippi. Both are non-profits. The former arranges the donated hunting tags plus guiding and as much transportation as possible for these kids and youth, and the latter arranges the wished-for hunt in entirety and pays for everything from transportation to packaged meat-shipping and taxidermy. There, the families' have no expense.
With both groups, Ty is a major volunteer, and sought after as a guide for their kids and youth. He gets reimbursed absolutely nothing, and I now have been able to learn that he puts tens of thousands of dollars a year of his own money into making these desired outdoor hunt experiences happen for these unfortunate and wishful young people.
Whatever the disability: severe cerebral palsy, leukemia, various forms of cancer, lung disease, amputees, wheel-chair bound, exhausted from chemotherapy...it makes no difference, Ty will find a way to fulfill the dream of these unfortunate but eager kids and youth. And the pre-hunt scouting is also done by Ty himself. No assistant who might possibly give away a particular secret spot found by his lifelong outdoor endeavors. With this experience and a wide skill-set, he will create a way to transport them, or make some remarkable contrivance, or buy multiple items whenever necessary with his own money, to make possible their much wished-for hunt.
I am simply astounded time and again that he gets them into the field--even if he has to carry them--and they are, almost beyond belief--usually successful in their hunt because of him. He knows the wilds and the wildlife like an old-time pioneer, is an incredible tracker comparable to the legendary ones in Africa, is well-known, and is an amazingly skilled guide. Yet he passes up lucrative commercial guiding to mentor and guide these kids and youth as his service, and at much wear and damage to his rugged vehicle and his own body. I would estimate he has passed up more than $250,000 he could have made in paid-guiding fees in the same amount of time. And in our rough country here in Arizona, just the upkeep, tires and broken parts on his truck, and mileage, are highly costly in both time and money. To save some of that, Ty performs almost all of this tricky upkeep and repair himself, at night after he gets home from work.
And yes, some of these kids or youth live their dream but pass away afterward, yet they and their family were touched by his selfless magic. For just one example, Ty guided a lovely 13-year-old girl on a difficult elk hunt during a remission of her leukemia. Thanks to him, she got a fine bull and she was overjoyed and heartened, as were her parents. Ghastly for them all, her leukemia recurred and she died several months later. It was heartbreaking for Ty, as his wife was then pregnant with his own daughter. Thus, his daughter is named after this girl in her memory. There are other such touching stories too. I am a strong person but would be emotionally unable to handle the scenarios he frequently encounters, and the touching or even heart-breaking events associated with his giving skills and work. I literally have to bite my lip, with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, just to write these words to you.
Thankfully, many others of these kids and youth are incredibly buoyed by their outdoor experience and their dreamed-of success despite their often severe disability, and this encourages them to find more courage and strength--and look forward to an actual future. That is priceless.
As a result of all this giving, Ty gets very little sleep. He knows this is dangerous to his own health, and is costing him life-years, yet he continues on with his selfless efforts.
To say that I admire Ty Hart would be a huge understatement. A trip to Kississing Lake Lodge would be a marvelous break for him and his ever-patient wife, Jamie.