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The Silent Horned Uncle

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It was a warm, summer day in the mid 1960’s on Beetle Lake in Michigan. At age two, Kurt Tribbett was having fun with his siblings on the dock. Kurt has two brothers, older Kevin and younger Kyle, and one sister, older Kim. Then, all of a sudden, he plunged off the dock and into the cold lake. Luckily, his dad was by his side and saved Kurt from drowning. Ironically, about 30 years later the same thing happened to me at Bear Lake in Michigan. At age two, I was playing with my young cousins by the dock. Subsequently, I tumbled off the wooden port and into Bear Lake. But who would be there to save me, none other than my Uncle Kurt. Kurt is a man that faced much adversity while growing up. However, he has been able to overcome these hardships and become a successful father, husband, and uncle.

A common theme in Kurt’s youth was difficult obstacles. When he was two, his appendix ruptured. This posed as a serious problem that was detrimental to his health. But with the help of doctors, Kurt managed to come out unscathed. Starting at a young age, Kurt had to wear knee braces, kind of like the ones in Forrest Gump. The joints in Kurt’s legs had not fully developed yet. I cannot imagine not being able to run around with my friends as a boy. Still Kurt overcame this burden with patience. He soon got his braces taken off and later blossomed into a talented distance runner. The hardest problem Kurt had to deal with was constant bullying from his big brother, my dad Kevin, all throughout his childhood. Kevin would constantly physically beat on and make fun of Kurt. Through this, Kurt learned how to be resilient and defend himself. As the youngest of three brothers, I can relate to being picked on. I too have been called names and been physically pounded by my brothers; however, it was never to the extent that my dad picked on him. Nevertheless, my dad and Uncle Kurt eventually made up and now remain good friends.

Even though Kurt had to face early difficulty, he has managed to pull off several great accomplishments. The knee braces he wore as a child were a distant memory when he was in high school. Kurt became a great distance runner just like his older brother Kevin. He was able to achieve this despite having a “big-boned” physique. “I wasn’t built like a runner, but I was still able to compete with the best.” He was the best runner in his high school graduating class. Kurt earned a cross country and track scholarship from Tri-State University. After his running career ended at Tri-State, Kurt attended Western Michigan University and received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. “I was so happy to finally be done with school and start my life,” referring to his graduation. Now in the real world, Kurt was able to land a job as a civil engineer for his hometown, Battle Creek, Michigan. After years of hard work, he has become a well-respected civil engineer. In fact, his co-workers sometimes get upset with him because he works too hard and too long. That tells you about his character. “My biggest accomplishment so far is my wife and daughters.” Kurt is definitely a family man. He later married Lisa Hass in 1992. The two of them now have two daughters named Claire and Ellie. Claire is 10 years old and Ellie is seven. When I play with them, I can tell Kurt and Lisa are both doing a great job raising their children. Claire and Ellie are both great sports and try to help their cousins when they get hurt.

Over the years, I have been able to see what a great uncle he is. My brothers and I all agree on that he is a guy that is easy to talk to. He has a laid-back personality. Some of his other qualities are calmness, good sportsmanship, kindness, and modesty. However, at times Kurt seems calm, but insider he is a raging storm. Last summer, my dad and Kurt got involved in a “fender bender” with another car. After the accident, Kurt got out of the car and calmly discussed the situation with my dad and the other driver.

Every summer, I witness Kurt’s good sportsmanship. The uncles and the cousins get together and play a few games of basketball. “Kurt is a good teammate and he works hard in the post,” my cousin Joey says of Kurt. Kurt is always encouraging his teammates. Accordingly, his team usually wins. Another one of Kurt’s qualities is his modesty, a characteristic his co-workers no very well. Even though Kurt is so successful with his job, he is a humble man. You will never hear him “tooting his own horn.” Sometimes he’ll have to work twice as hard to cover for his fellow employees. Kindness is another quality that is recognized by the members of his church. They would be able to testify how much time Kurt spends around the youth ministry program. For several years, Kurt has been serving his church in this department. The reason he is so dedicated is that he is fully devoted to serving Jesus Christ. Religion is one of Kurt’s top priorities.

After 14 years of being my uncle, Kurt stands as a great role model for me. The one detail that stands out about Kurt is his love and passion for Jesus Christ. He says he was able to overcome the obstacles he faced as a child with the help of the Lord. In my opinion, Kurt has many accomplishments to be proud of. It amazes me he is such a modest person. Before this interview, I had no idea he even ran cross-country. But Kurt says what got him in a successful position was that he “gave his best effort, so that he left no regret.”





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