I've one more letter I would like to share, this one arriving shortly after our project received a Heroes of Conservation award from Field & Stream magazine. That short article led a guy by the name of Justin to discover our site, our project, and our passion. It is a passion he shares, according to his letter:
I just wanted to let you know that what you are doing is great.Probably more important than the trash you remove yourself is theattention you are bringing to the cause.
As an avid fisherman I canappreciate the work you are putting into your area. Incidentally I havehad the privilege of fishing on the St. Croix once myself, it's where Icaught my one and only sturgeon.
Something my dad taught me at a young age was too always take more trashthan you bring. Every fishing trip I take ends in a walk up and downthe bank to remove whatever I see. Unfortunately my clean-up effortsare restricted to places my feet can take me, but I think things arelooking a little cleaner here in the waterways in and around Fort Riley, Kansas.
Keep up the good work, I'm sure you know that your efforts areappreciated and enjoyed by many!
SSG Justin Tryggestad
Currently serving in the U.S. Army
Of course, a note like this would be gratifying at anytime, from anyone. But Julie and I appreciated this especially, because Justin is currently serving all of us.
We're particularly sensitive to that, because this weekend, we are having a going-away party for our youngest son, Zachary, who will depart for basic training next week... with the Minnesota Army National Guard.
As parents, we are both nervous about his departure and very proud of his decision. Zach, as he explains it, is "...looking forward to being a part of something that is bigger than himself." In other words, his sign-up is the pursuit of service.
I wrote back to Mr. Tryggestad shortly after receiving his note, and let him know of our son's pending adventure. He replied by saying, "Tell your son, welcome to the team!"
So, to Justin Tryggestad: We loved the letter, Justin. It is nice of you to acknowledge our project, even as it is so small, in comparison to the sacrifice and service you and people like you are offering to all of us. Thank you.
© 2009 Mike D. Anderson, St. Michael, MN. All rights reserved.