Mad for…Chuck

He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. (Isaiah 40:11)

*National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Day 51 of 365.

As I celebrated “Senior Night” with this year’s Guerin Catholic High School (class of 2019) basketball playing seniors last evening, I found myself thinking back to this time one year ago and the person of one Chuck Hansen. I met Chuck when our sons began to play basketball together their freshman year in high school. As a team mom, I’m a quick learner, and I heard fairly rapidly about the need to get to know Chuck. The football moms were pretty convincing about that fact. You see Chuck’s reputation preceded him. He was known to all to be kind of a quiet guy, but a photography genius– and every team mom needs to know that guy!

It wasn’t long before I learned Chuck’s talent was real, but even more, his attitude impressed me. I’ve long thought the greatest folks who really have the most to teach me about what matters are those who lead in servanthood. They are folks like Chuck who put the interests of others at the center of their actions and decisions.

More times than I can count, and usually with no thank you whatsoever, Chuck would sneak over to GC to take dozens of photos for us all– for locker signs, for banners, and for senior night gifts. All I had to do was ask, and Chuck said, “sure thing.” Last year, Chuck spent considerable time capturing all the senior players, managers and broadcasters IN ACTION and then printed out large and impressive photos for all the families to take home to remember their time in the Golden Eagle basketball program. When I came over to the Hansen home to look them over for framing, I was overwhelmed by the time he spent and the quality of the gifts he was sharing. This is just one tiny example to illustrate that Chuck is a guy with a beautiful, giving heart. There are so many more!

In recent months, Chuck and his family has been often in my prayers as they mourn the untimely death of their son, Evan. They’ve been promoting awareness of mental health and suicide prevention to honor Evan. It’s no surprise to me at all that their efforts and their collective wish is for this scourge to decrease as awareness increases. They are both incredibly bright lights and examples of servant leadership in the most trying time of their lives. My admiration continues to grow as I see the impact they are having for this community.

An article in last week’s Catholic Moment contained a quote from Chuck about his beloved middle son, Evan. Chuck said, “He did small little acts of kindness and that is why people loved him so much.”

As I read that, knowing it as undisputed truth, I also thought, well Chuck….like father, like son. He learned that kindness from your witness, Dad.

Chuck is an incredibly faithful, genuine, compassionate and warm-hearted soul. The largess of his giving and that of his wife, Mary, in the midst of their great personal suffering is remarkable, grace-filled and inspiring. Their work has been spoken of at length in both local and national media.

Today, I just wanted to take a happy memory of a great senior night for that basketball class of 2018 who were honored a year ago and say THANK YOU CHUCK! You are a character-filled man who gives from his heart. I am grateful to you for reminding me to focus always on how I can serve God by doing for others– even when, perhaps especially when, my heart is aching. Trusting in God’s goodness and love is a lesson I am learning from you.

God Bless you, Chuck, as well as Mary, Carl and Jack. GO JAGS!!

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