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Tribute to Russ

~ Sarah King

I came to be a member of

Whisper n Thunder Board only a

couple of years ago, so I cannot

claim the intimate friendship

status that the other writers in

this issue were so lucky to experience. 

Since our acquaintance was relatively brief, it is difficult for me to relay stories, memories or thoughts that are truly meaningful and that would do justice to his legacy. 

But there are things I DO know which I am honored to share.  I know he has been a huge inspiration to all of our board members and followers and contributed so much of himself to WnT and to his community.  I know he was well-respected—and greatly loved—by many. I know that in the virtual board meetings I attended he always had great insight and shared his comments and suggestions working from a background of deep experience with indigenous communities, respect for their history and traditions and intense compassion for current challenges.  I know he never faltered in his support for WnT and its mission and he worked with all his heart and energy to help this organization be a lifeline for those in need and an inspiration and leg-up for Native American youth. 

I wish I had known him better.  I wish I had been able to meet him in person, share a cup of coffee, swap stories and soak up some of his wisdom. I envy the board members and his large circle of friends the time they had to really be with him, to learn from him and to feel the electricity of his presence and the gift of his spirit. 

His presence lives on in the WnT community.  His vision will guide us all to reach higher, dig deeper and work harder to achieve the goals of this organization---to empower Native Americans and First Nations peoples through Education, Awareness and Opportunity.