Sunday, January 18, 2009

Iron Man

I took this photograph almost exactly a year ago as I was trying to make it to Cashmere to a memorial service for a friend of mine from Camp Goodtimes (the American Cancer Society's summer camp for pediatric cancer patients). Iron Man (Tanner) was just 17 and we had spent some great times together at camp the previous summer. He was genuine, kind, creative, fun and could make almost anything out of duct tape! He actually made a full size suit courtesy of a manekin from Nordstrom only a few months before he passed away. My friends from camp (from left: me, Putt Putt, Watermelon, Petal and Weezer...gotta love the camp names!) were attempting to get to his service as the snow got thicker and thicker last year and traffic started moving slower and slower. After hours of gridlock we discovered that there was no chance to make the memorial because the pass had just been closed. We turned around and found a nice little spot along a river bank where we could have our own little memorial. We hiked downed to the river in snow that was up to our knees, gathered together and payed our respects to Tanner. We left a tribute on a snow covered boulder right next to the river. The letters SNOJ stand for "Super Nova of Joy!". At camp, his cabin came up with this slogan which stood for the energy that is formed from coming together with a common goal which then can explode outward like a supernova and making the world a better place.

Tanner did make the world a better place. He had a gentle spirit, kind heart, loved the outdoors, and was admired and loved by so very many people. I feel very lucky to have known him.


  1. Paul, do you have his mom's email or blog address? I do, if you don't. She would love to see this, I feel sure. Thank you for posting it; it's so lovely.

  2. Thanks Karen. I e-mailed a link to Cathy. I can't believe that it's almost been a year already since Tanner's memorial...where does the time go?

  3. Thank you Paul for remembering, caring and sharing this time. Camp Goodtimes was the best thing Tanner experienced during his cancer journey. He went-just another camp kid, he left with such a true bond with those he met. He shared with us that the counselors and other LIT's touched him deeply and he hoped to return each year to give back all he received. He truely felt like be belonged. As a family we know he was blessed by that experience.
    SNOJ - was Tanner and each of you who give so much of yourself at Camp Goodtimes.

  4. Thank YOU Cathy for sharing Tanner with the all of us!! He made a permanent imprint at camp and in me that is for sure.

    One of my favorite philosophers, The Wizard of Oz, once said, "The true measure of a person is not how much YOU love, but by how much YOU are loved by others!". Using that barometer, Tanner did indeed achieve greatness!