Be the One said good-bye to a true champion this past week. Curtis Atnoesen had a long history of serving others in so many roles: pastor, chaplain, counselor, teacher, youth leader, bus driver, musician, mentor. I had the privilege of meeting Curt about 5 years ago when he joined Be the One as a volunteer mentor, mentor coach, and part-time trainer. At our first meeting, he told me a story about a special teacher who never gave up on teaching him to read, even though he was slow to learn and repeated the 3 rd grade three times. With tears in his eyes, he expressed how much that teacher meant to him and how he simply wanted to support others in that same way. His ability to share weaknesses and be vulnerable allowed him to connect deeply. Curtis loved life and sharing special moments with the 3 students he mentored here at LHS—whether it was playing a game, sharing a piece of music, or trying to solve a math problem. He went out of his way to attend soccer games and band concerts to see his students shine: always positive, encouraging, having fun, and seeing the brightest potential in everyone. Frequently seen sporting “Be the One” gear around town, he tirelessly supported our program and recruited others to get involved. He frequently sent me quotes, articles, or little gems of wisdom to encourage me. Once Curtis explained to me how he viewed mentoring relationships:
First I listen to His Story. Then I share what I can of My Story. Together we can explore how we are both part of the Big Story.
Thank you, Curtis, for sharing your story with me and becoming part of mine.