Saturday, January 28, 2023

An appreciation for Kennedy

| August 10, 2022 7:55 AM

I met Brian Kennedy when his family bought the Hungry Horse News and Brian and his wife took the reins from Mel Ruder and took over the day to day operation of the paper. There was a lot of concern in the community about this young, unknown man taking over from an icon of the community.

Turned out there was no need for concern.

Like Mel, Brian was well founded in journalism, focused on the paper and worked hard to promote it, the community and continued Mel’s promotion of Glacier Park with top notch photography.

In early 1985, Brian talked me into writing this column on a trial basis and I am still at it 37 years later. As a result, I met with Brian on a weekly basis and came to know him quite well. Likewise his wife, sons and his younger brother who also worked at the paper. In the years since the Kennedys sold the paper Brian and I stayed in sporadic contact via Facebook and he continued to provide positive comments about the column and share information about people we both knew in the climbing community – mostly the Kanzlers and Terry Kennedy.

I was never a climber but I have now had eight friends and acquaintances who were climbers who have died while climbing. The first was Jerry Kanzler who fell in a winter climb in Glacier Park with four others.

I have also known people who have died in the River, on snowmobiles, skis, and even one hiker who went off trail bushwhacking, fell and died from injuries that could have been healed if he had reached medical help in time.

I guess the lesson is simple. The great outdoors is truly great, but it can also be dangerous. Mother Nature can be, and is, beautiful, but she can also be treacherous – even on a clear sunny day.

In every case I have heard the old platitude “They were doing what they loved.”

I don’t buy that for a minute. Each fatality is a tragedy. Whether caused by the weather, bad judgment, faulty equipment or bad luck.

Each fatality is a loss, not just to the person who is killed, their family and friends, but to all of us.

In a perfect world, Brian and all the others would do what they loved for as long as their abilities lasted.

Then they would live on, regaling others with tales of their experiences and passing on their love of the great outdoors for at least 20 years about their ability to do those things and faded into memories.

What do you think?

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