This is a post dedicated to one of the most awesome people I know. He is also someone who will call me out if I am too sappy or corny, and this is going to be, but I don’t really care. He. Is. Amazing. Resilient. Charismatic and truthful to a fault.
Let me get to the chase though, if you don’t know Randy, I can tell you one defining thing. At age 37 Randy ended up paralyzed, in a wheelchair due to an accident at a construction site. So yeah, that is defining, but it also ISN’T. Randy has not let that define him, but you might notice that if you meet him.
Randy loves to ski. He loved to ski before the accident and he loves to ski AFTER the accident. He is an active member of Challenge Alaska an amazing organization that provides opportunities for adaptive sports, therapeutic recreation and education. (Challenge Alaska Website). Through Challenge Alaska Randy has participated in a myriad of the sports he loves. But better than that, as Randy has become extremely accomplished, he has shared this knowledge with others. I am sure that “no bullshit” attitude is intimidating, but it also comes with high expectations that anyone around Randy strives to reach.
Randy is fiercely independent. There was a period when he lived in a wheelchair accessible apartment in downtown Anchorage. I can not think of a worse fit for a life long fisherman from Homer. It was short-lived and soon Randy moved to Nikiski in a cabin he built himself. In that cabin he has created a beautiful life, he is close to his sweet daughter, has the funniest little dogs and now has a wonderful woman in his life. His winters spent in Girdwood participating in Challenge Alaska activities, summers along the Kenai.
Randy is fearless. Always has been. He was an extreme athlete before that was even a thing… pushing the boundaries, pushing the limits of his body and lets face it, social situations as well. For example, he is the uncle that will hoot like a baboon in the mall while people stare, kids LOVE it. Many years ago my family got off an airplane in Anchorage. Before we saw him, we heard him, “Whoo Hoo!!” He is loud, he is brash, he is rowdy. He is fun. He is excited about life, he is up for new adventures, he is a storyteller, yet you never, never, never know what is going to come out of his mouth. He is full of surprises. He is fearless.
He. Will. Help. Anyone. Anyone!! He’s the guy. The one you call when you need help. He doesn’t judge. He will, however, call bullshit, and I am grateful for that. He has the same circle of friends he had when he was five, and has added friends along the years. Good friends. Friends he calls “brothers.” “Sisters.” Their life-long friendships a testament to the kind of person he is.
So my baby brother turns 51 this year, making me feel much older. He is this grown, accomplished amazing man, but in my mind’s eye he will always be that little kid. The sweetest little boy you ever met. Adorable. Charming. Charming his way out of any trouble. The one I babysat when my mom worked, the one who wanted pancakes every morning. The one who was lucky I was babysitting when the police brought him home because he was throwing water balloons filled with PAINT! And again when they brought him home another time for throwing rocks off the overpass at cars – (he never hit one…) “Sure,” I told the policeman, “I will make sure my parents know.”
My parents don’t know. There is a code you know.