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Whispers in the Wind
~ Orannhawk 

I sat in silence, contemplating, waiting

for the right words to describe Russ;

knowing full well, even the best words

would not suffice. I reached out to the

stars, whispering into the twilight,

listening to my heart. I heard my Papaw

asking me, “tell me of his energy and his song.”

And I cried. That was the moment I saw the energy he carried in this life. Russ held the energy and the songs of a tree. Intrinsic and fundamental to life, the tree reaches deep to touch the soul of the Earth, at the same moment, casting upward into the skies in connection to Spirit and the Ancestors.

Even without the knowledge of the power a tree holds, the smallest child recognizes a tree. A tree is life giving, nourishing, purifying, providing, tempering, protecting, inspiring, fulfilling the needs of the many, in subtle and often unassuming ways.

Russ cultivated these qualities.

Russ’s dedication never wavered. His thoughts focused on fulfilling the needs of many, reaching out to those who were less fortunate, resolutely working to right the wrongs, and including those who walked uncertain paths. Over the years, we have heard his voice, understood his vision, watching as he used his 
social media accounts to promote and assist in funding EREZ, and the WINDS scholarships, as well as the fundamentals of our goals at Whisper n Thunder; Empowering Native Americans / First Nations peoples through Education, Awareness and Opportunity.

Russ nurtured Whisper n Thunder, like a majestic tree standing resilient against the storms. His birthdays, and other events brought in funds, along with sharing his thoughts through emails and enriching our board meetings with more ways to serve. Russ was outspoken and had no qualms about voicing issues regarding 
Indigenous rights. He was a warrior.

As the wind moves through the trees, Russ’s message will continue to inspire us to empower, educate and 
provide opportunities for our brothers and sisters. We will think of him as homes are warmed through EREZ, when another applicant earns a WINDS scholarship, and when his goals and dreams for all Indigenous peoples are realized.

The twittering of small birds nestled on the center branches of my large cedar tree feeds my heart as I scatter corn and seed around before the chill and rain come. Hawk appeared early this morning, with the sounds of crows in the distance. I speak to each tree as I walk among them, and I know the winds whisper your name. It was an honor to work on the board with you Russ, you will not be forgotten.