I came home from James' soccer practice last night and Lee said, "You just missed it, Frank Hutchinson was on TV." Frank owns a local golf club and I figured that's what it was about. Turns out Frank climbed Mt. Everest in May. Big whoop, though, right? People do it every day.
It wasn't that Frank climbed Mt. Everest that got him on the news, it was WHY he climbed Mt. Everest. He and a friend, climbed Mt. Everest with two books. Each book contained the names of soldiers that have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nearly 5,000 by the time they started their ascent in March. Frank wanted to be to the top by Memorial Day. He figured the top of that mountain was about as close to God as a person could get.
You know, the climb is just like something Frank would do. We know him because he was Tom's club soccer coach for 2 years. His kids were both into sports and they were grown and off to college. I think he was having a little empty nest syndrome, and so came out to coach Tom's team. He did it as a volunteer too. He turned down the paycheck they offered him. He was the best coach Tom ever had. He had the right amount of "Dad" mixed in with the part of him that was "Coach". He wanted to win, but not at the expense of the boy's spirits.
In getting to know him a little better, we discovered that he was involved with the golf course/housing development that was planned for the land behind us. It was something our neighborhood was opposed to for several reasons. By the time we met Frank, he was trying to get out of his portion of the development (designing the course). It seems the developer (Mr. Rattlesnake), who also developed our neighborhood had gone behind Frank's back and changed the design of the course----mainly how it was to be watered. Franks design was for treated gray water to keep the greens alive. He knew that it would take nearly a million gallons of water a day to make that happen. Mr. Rattlesnake dug 6 wells behind Frank's back. Frank wanted out. He knew it would drain all our wells dry.
I'm sure Frank's not perfect. None of us are. What I do know about him, though, is that he's a stand up guy. I know that he remembers Tom's name when he sees us, even though it was several years ago that he coached.
You can read more about Frank's journey and the troubles he faced up the mountain and back down again, if you like. There is also a 2 part interview with him on video.
Congratulations Frank! In your own words, "Well done, well done."