Life is too Precious not to be Free…

     As I was sitting here tonight writing my latest post on a charity that means the world to many of our wounded veterans, I got a call from my cousin Chad.  We had spoken many times already throughout the day about various things, but as soon as I answered the phone I heard a pain in his voice that struck me instantly.  I automatically thought the worst, as I have lost so many close to me in the not so distant past, but when he asked me, “do you remember Scott Baumgard?”, it brought me to another time…

     When I was 16 and my cousin Chad was 18, my parents had decided to move from Vermillion, SD to the suburbs of Minneapolis, Mn.  It was nearing the end of my sophomore year in high school, and with my parent’s permission I decided it was time to take off on my own for a while.  Chad and I decided we would go to the Iowa Great Lakes (Okoboji, IA), get summer jobs and see what life had to offer.  In my 1970 Chevy pick-up, with my motorcycle, camping gear and my dog Blazer in the back, we took off.  For the first 2 1/2 weeks, we lived in my tent, sleeping on 2 old WWII army cots that I had picked up at a garage sale.  During that time, we both picked up jobs in seasonal restaurants and started making friends.  A friend of a friend had an old Airstream camper that he was willing to rent, and after burning the tent, we parked that camper in a little city campground right on the strip so we would be right in the middle of all the action.

     Each night after work, Chad & I would walk up and down the strip (Hwy 71) between Arnolds Park and Okoboji, looking for whatever fun may enter our travels.  Our normal turnaround spot was a little convenience store called Kum & Go that locals would generally congregate.  One night, there was a group of kids hanging out playing Hacky Sac.  We joined the group, and this is the first time that I met Scott Baumgard and his older brother Al.  Over the next few summers, there were many nights of fishing, camping, and scaring the hell out of any “newbies” that ventured with us to Loon Lake cemetary.  We all became close as a group, and while I knew Al better, Scott was never far behind.

     It wasn’t too many years later that I joined the Navy and left the lakes area, but always kept in contact with Chad who remained close to the whole crew.  I regret to say, that with the passing years, I have come in contact with so many people, some of the best which have slipped through the cracks of my contact list.  I have the memories though, memories that will live forever, and God willing, those memories will be put into words for all to read and remember.

     I would ask that all who read this take a moment to reflect on how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away.  I have personally lost 7 people in the last 16 months who, at one time or another were close to my life.  I believe that life is a precious gift, given to us by God, and just because you or the ones you love got out of bed this morning, doesn’t mean you or they get to go to bed tonight.

     Scott Baumgard was a young man taken too early, that may have played a small part in the history of my life, but there are many who’s lives he was a very big part of.  I am sure that many who read this have stories of those who have been taken far to sudden and far to early as well.  If you get nothing from the words that I have written here, please understand that life is far too precious to take anything for granted.  Hold your memories dear of the people, the events and the freedoms that have made our lives so wonderful…

Arnolds Park man dies in two-vehicle accident

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One Response to Life is too Precious not to be Free…

  1. Chris Kielman says:

    What’s up man, been a long time. I was the one with long hair and drove a red, or white mustang depending on the year. I was real close with Jeff Sexton, Brad Gibson, Dave Wallace and many others. I’ve been everywhere like most over the last 15 years or so. Spent 14 years in Law Enforcement right in the Lakes area. Then, got tired of the political games and went to Afganistan and then Iraq with contracts under different Department of State Task Orders. I’m back home at the moment in Spirit Lake and was called by a dear friend Friday late afternoon and given the news. Scott and I were pretty tight for a year or so back aound 16 or 17. He was a good man and a great human being. The world is a lesser place with him gone. I was lucky enough to have talked to him back in early July just before leaving for Iraq. It was early evening with a perfect sunset on the deck of the “Gardens”. We talked for about 5 minutes and briefly discussed how old we are getting and how fast the time seems to fly. Godspeed to you, Scott.

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