As a young boy, Jesse’s biggest concerns were the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. He and his dad shared that passion and indulged it together on many occasions. As Dan taught Jesse all he knew about the outdoors, Jesse gobbled that information up and carefully stored it away for future use. Many hours were spent together talking, laughing and learning which led to more fond memories than could be counted.
As Jesse grew older, his love for the outdoors never faded but a new love entered his life. Serving in the military became his other passion, one that filled him with purpose. At the age of seventeen he joined the army and started what he thought would be a lifetime career.
Jesse loved the physical training and conditioning the army required. He loved serving his country and he loved the guys he served with. The bond they shared goes deep even today. His job may have been a “pencil pusher” but he was the best pencil pusher around. Pride and character were evident in everything he did. Jesse never saw any action overseas but his buddies knew that he wanted to be there with them. They also knew that with him doing the paperwork required, they were in good hands.
Spending time together away from work was a normal part of their lives, as with any group of friends . Being guys, the usual sports attractions caught their attention and spending time around a table watching the game or fight was something they never hesitated doing.
They also didn’t hesitate to drink and drink a lot. The whole group did, so what was the big deal? Jesse was drawn into that way of thinking but also knew that drinking and driving weren’t a good combination. He had drill the next morning and he didn’t want to be hung over. He didn’t want to let the other guys down.
The best laid plans usually don’t work and this time was no exception. Despite Jesse’s best efforts to avoid a tragedy, one happened. All the precautions he put into place were thrown out the window. He drank too much, he got his keys back and he got into his truck and attempted to drive home.
When he woke up the next morning in the hospital, his life had turned into a nightmare. He was handcuffed to a hospital bed and a doctor was stitching up his forehead. The law enforcement officer standing guard over him spoke volumes. What had he done? He drove drunk and killed someone.
The decisions Jesse made that night to drink and drink some more led him to black out yet still get behind the wheel. That poor choice changed the course of his life forever. At age twenty-nine Jesse was a convicted felon. That sure wasn’t in his in life plan.
Most people in Jesse’s situation would deny they were at fault, blame someone else or somehow try to get out of taking responsibility for their actions. Not so with Jesse. The morals his parents and the army instilled in him rose to the surface. He stood up, straight and tall, and took responsibility for what he did. He wasn’t proud of it but he still owned up to it.
Not many people have enough inner strength and character to do that. I applaud him for how he responded to this tragedy. I’m thankful Jesse heard the Lord calling to him and that he answered that call. Jesse may be in prison but his faith is shines every day.