Posted: Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I have seen some pretty difficult situations in my life however things don't get much worse in life than a situation like this. All the way back to Wisconsin I pondered just what to say to my relatives and just how we were all going to get through this.

My cousin Tim Von Haden and I flew into Minneapolis where my brother Jim picked us up and took us to his place in Coates, Minnesota, just south of the Twin Cities. From there we drove a vehicle provided by my brother Jim to Augusta, Wisconsin, arriving there around 10:00 P.M.

The following morning we were at my uncle's place and facing this terrible thing with two very broken-hearted parents. Josh and his father had hunted together many times throughout the years and then when depression over took him he chose a gun to end it all......To me this is perhaps the worst possible thing you can do to your family.....

Dean has hunted all his life and had taught his son how to hunt since he was a little boy. Together they hunted deer, turkey, raccoon, fox, coyote, bear, and also squirrels and rabbit. He also proudly watched his little boy grow into a giant of a man who stood well over 6 foot 5 inches tall and weighed close to 300 LB. To see my uncle have to face life knowing that his only son took a very cruel way to leave this world is as tough as a situation as I have ever been around.

I spent a lot of time driving around Wisconsin thinking and trying to understand how someone could do this to their parents and other loved ones. It was especially troubling knowing that Josh had called his parents and sisters and other friends including my son here in Alaska the night before, telling them how much he loved them or valued their friendship. I finally came to the following conclusion that the human mind breaks down just as much as our heart, or lungs or other organs. Unfortunately the human mind or brain controls everything we do and when this happens, it over rules everything else. By continuing to ask each other why only makes the problems more complex, as there are many questions in life that simply don't have an answer.

I found the weather in Wisconsin very similar to ours here in Alaska. There was very little snow and a whole lot of rain combined with extra warm temperatures. The lakes had little if any ice on them and certainly not enough to fish on. Perhaps the high light of my trip, if there is such a thing considering the circumstances, was the huge black bear I saw near Augusta Wisconsin. I watched this magnificent animal for about half an hour with my father's field glasses. The bear was easily pushing 400 LB. and was just a beautiful animal. He was working the edge of a cornfield perhaps looking for corn that was dropped or missed by the combine.

In other matters many of you may have read about Jim Ries and the Amvets sending out packages to our soldiers overseas. This is a wonderful thing these people are doing for our service men and women who are fighting throughout the world for us here at home. If you would like to contribute to this fund you can contact the Amvets club on K Beach or contact me at home by calling 260-5749.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and if you know of someone who needs a little help this Christmas please call me at the same number listed above.

Lets start a New Years resolution early this year, in memory of the tragic ordeal my relatives are struggling with back in Wisconsin let's all remember to never let our family members go out that door or hang up that phone without them hearing the following words; I love you! The life you save may be one of your own. In your free time especially since it is Christmas time (birth of Jesus) pray for our soldiers and their families and also include Dean and Joy Von Haden in your prayers too.

See you next week!

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