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Radiating From Her Heart – Honoring A Veteran Of Service: Larry French

“I think it is important to foster an appreciation of nature, no matter how large, or small.” – Molly French

Have you ever taken the initiative to help a stranger? We hope this story inspires you to help those in need, as it has inspired us to tell this story of kindness.

This year, the Cottonwood Institute had an outreach booth at the Green Apple Music Festival in Denver’s City Park. While talking about our exciting Summer Courses for adventurous youth and adults, we met an amazing person, Molly French.

Molly listened as she walked by our booth about the Cottonwood Institute’s need to have proper equipment/gear for our high school aged youth to have during our Community Adventure Program overnights and Summer Course projects. A few weeks later, we received contact from her stating that she wanted to organize a gear drive with her friends (with the help of Kathy Albert and Tracey Roberts), and that she wanted to make a donation to our Griffith Scholarship Fund with her good friend Ilene Bloom in honor of her father’s life. Below are a few words about her father, Larry French:

“My Dad had a keen and subtle appreciation for nature. He spent a large part of his childhood on a lake in Indiana with his family. He took my brothers, sisters and myself camping almost every vacation as children. He wrote a letter to my mother every day he was in Vietnam (he was there for two years), many of the letters describing the beauty of that country in great detail. For as long as I can remember as a child, and into my adulthood, he did volunteer work for the Civitan Club out of Birmingham, Alabama. Part of that volunteer work was helping them prepare a summer camp for kids with disabilities. The few times he was able to visit me in Colorado, I took he and my mom to Steamboat, Durango, and Glenwood Springs. He loved the beauty of this state, and I am so glad he got to see parts of it.

My Dad unexpectedly and sadly died March of 2006. I cherish the times when I had a rare moment alone with my father (I have four siblings). During some of those moments, nature distracted and consumed his attention. For example, one time at the kids camp he came across a grove of birch trees. He took several pictures of the birches while he was lying on his back at the base of the grove. I can remember the first time I saw the photos of the birch trees and learned about his awe of nature. Another time we were walking on the beach, he saw a crab and followed it around for 20 minutes or so. I followed him; he followed the crab – in silence. I knew why he was distracted. He understood the power of nature, even in the smallest things. It’s important that young people have an opportunity to connect with nature on any level, then hopefully take that connection into adulthood as a catapult to involvement in environmental preservation – for example, from being part of a hands-on crew in restoring trails to taking on leadership positions in environmental organizations.”
– Molly French, May 30, 2008

On behalf of the Cottonwood Institute we would like to thank Molly, Ilene, Kathy and Tracey for taking the initiative to support our students. To learn how you can support the Cottonwood Institute please consider making a Donation, supporting our Griffith Scholarship Fund to help make our courses accessible to students in need, donating an item on our Wish List, or joining us in the field for one of our amazing Summer Courses.

Categories: Cottonwood Institute News

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