Living Legend Wrap-Up

Well, the month of January is over, and so officially is this year’s Living Legend program.  Once again, you were extremely generous with your support of the program through your January shopping, and we will be sending our donation check off to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital next week.

Living Legend
The staff here at Stormy Kromer has really enjoyed getting to know Laura Mae Beaubien.  So did Leslie Pugmire Hole, reporter at the Redmond Spokesman, a central Oregon newspaper.  Her interview with Laura and family resulted in a few wonderful quotes that we’d like to share.

Leslie quotes Laura’s son Bob, who first considered nominating his father Harold.

“I started thinking about what had made my Dad strong and I realized it was my mother.  She was always in his corner, she went to bat for him all the time.  A 60-year marriage?  People just don’t do that anymore.”

Laura continues to be humbled, and even a bit embarrassed about all the attention she’s received as our Living Legend, but still hopes her story is inspiring, even though (as she told us when she won), she didn’t win a war or anything.

“Families need to know there are good, one-day-at-a-time people still out there”, Laura said.

Yes, we sure do.  And thanks Laura, for the legendary reminder.

So Many Hats

Congratulations to this year’s Living Legend, Laura Mae Beaubien!  In case you missed it, here is the nomination her son sent to us which earned her this honor.

By: Robert Beaubien, Son

living legend
Laura Mae Beaubien is my father’s hidden strength.  Married at 19 years old, and for over 60 years, the two of them built a bond that could only be broken by the vow, “till death do we part.”

My stay-at-home mother attended to the household and raising of six children – yes six kids!  I believe there’s nothing stronger than the love a Mother has for her children.  She had so many hats she had to wear.

If one of us scraped our knee, she was there as the “Nurse” to patch us up and mother away our tears, always followed with a kiss that made it better.  She would take all of us to the A&P to go shopping with a bandana covering her curlers, the “Beauty Queen” to us.  As a “Financial Planner,” Mom saved S&H Green and Gold Bell stamps to get something free.  She could get all of us ready for church in our best Sunday clothes faster than a “Pageant Coordinator.”

I learned that when I was called, and that call included my middle name, I was in for it, as mom the “Sheriff” taught me.  We had to make our beds, pick up our clothes, feed the dog and other chores, thanks to mom the “Warden.”  My Mother the “Teacher” taught us responsibility.  She taught us to say ‘yes please,’ ‘no thank you,’ and to show respect .  Her “Dale Evans” hat was earned as we moved from our beloved Michigan to an Oregon cattle ranch.  She learned how to ride a horse, brand, and vaccinate cattle.  As the “Chef,” she maximized menus that would feed us and the branding/buckaroo crew for days.

With all these hats, she found time for my Dad as a loving, caring soulmate for life.  Now that we have our own lives, Mom and Dad were free to do the things they put off in their youth in order to raise us as a family believing in our faith, having respect of others, and doing what is right.

This free time as “Vacationers” was cut short as my Dad was told he had cancer.  Wearing this “Caregiver” hat, my mother has strengths I’ll never be able to describe, as she was a devoted companion till the end, remaining strong for us kids.  Their last long trip together – with mom as the “Navigator” – wasn’t to Hawaii, Miami, or Southern California, it was home to Michigan, where they visited family and friends.  They made new friends like Bob Jacquart, as they visited one of Michigan’s landmarks, the Stormy Kromer factory.

With a birthday on Christmas eve, my Mom will be 80 but not alone, as she will share in the celebration of life with her “Walton “-like family of Beaubien’s, driving from all over the state of Oregon, to be with her on this Blessed holiday and birthday.  My Mother made her life in a world that said ‘they were to young’ and lasted far beyond today’s marriages, raised a family, taught us new lessons and reminded us of the ones we let slide.  I nominate my Mother Laura Mae Beaubien because she would be a superior role model and a person to aspire and emulate her life’s values of a mother’s love.

The Living Legend Tattoo

If you’ve been following ou

r posts about 2012 Living Legend Jim Dehlin, you may remember that in the story titled “A Visit From a Legend“, Jim mentioned the possibility of getting a Living Legend tattoo.

Well, in legendary fashion, he was true to his word.

This fabulous bit of art was done by Jim’s niece, a tattoo artist in the New Orleans area.  The ink is on his right bicep and we particularly like the bit he added: “It’s good to be first.”

We have a feeling this won’t be the last we hear from Jim.  Stay tuned for updates on this legendary character throughout the year.

A Visit From A Legend

This past Friday, the employees at Stormy Kromer were proud to welcome a legend into their factory.  A Living Legend, actually.

Jim Dehlin and family, with Bob Jacquart

Our inaugural Living Legend winner, Jim Dehlin (along with six family members, including his wife, son and daughter) spent a good part of Friday afternoon with us.  What a treat.

The group started with a factory tour, given by our CEO, Bob Jacquart, of course.  Bob gave them the royal treatment, sharing story after story about the factory and Stormy Kromer, and introducing the crew to many of our employees.  The littlest member of the Dehlin clan even got to put eyelets into some caps!

After the tour, the group hit the retail store, putting a good dent into Jim’s $500 gift certificate.  Unsurprisingly, in legendary fashion, Jim spent most of his prize money buying caps and gear for his friends and family instead of for himself.

The visit capped off our inagural Living Legend program.  We received dozens of nominations and honored ten worthy nominees as finalists.  During the voting period, over 8500 votes were cast, with Jim emerging as our winner.  Earlier this month, we sent off our donation to Homes for Our Troops, in Jim’s honor.

Jim’s son Jesse, who nominated him, let us in on a little secret.  “I know we were supposed to have the nominee’s permission before nominating, but I didn’t know what he would say.  So I just did it.”  We sure are glad he did.

On his way out, later on Friday afternoon, Jim pulled a staff member aside.  “We’ve got to talk about some trademark issues,” he said.  “Any objections to my next tattoo using the Stormy Kromer logo, with the words ‘It’s good to be first.’?”

No problem at all, Jim.  And we couldn’t be prouder that you were first.

 

Announcing the 2012 Living Legend – Jim Dehlin

When we decided to honor our legendary wool cap by honoring a few living legends, we were pretty sure we’d meet some doozies. We never imagined we’d run into someone like Jim Dehlin.

According to the entry form sent in by Jim’s son, Jesse, Jim is a bona fide American hero. The U.S. Army even says so.  After losing both legs in a land-mine explosion in Vietnam, Jim managed to wrack up an impressive bucket list of accomplishments from the front-row seat of his wheelchair:

He became a pilot.
He raced dirt bikes in Spain.
He ran with the bulls.
He tried downhill skiing, got bored and tried downhill ski racing.
He learned to water ski.
He hunted caribou in Alaska.
He swam with sharks.
He served as a volunteer firefighter.
He backpacked across Europe. Twice.
He ranked nationally in wheelchair basketball.
He appeared in Poison’s “Something to Believe In” video.
He was mentioned in three books by Senators and a Four-Star General.

“It’s not the accomplishments that make my dad a living legend,” said the younger Dehlin, “it is the impact he has had on people throughout his life that make him so. Over the 42 years since his injury, he continues to inspire people to tackle life and to succeed.”

Take, for example, how he used his sense of humor to improve the morale of other patients at Valley Forge Army Hospital—while he was dealing with his own injury. Or how he worked two jobs to put himself through school (he became an aviation maintenance specialist, then an educator) and plowed snow in the winter—for free for those in need. Or how he continues to challenge life by pushing boundaries and inspiring those around him to do the same.

“I am honored to be the recipient of the inaugural Stormy Kromer Living Legend award. To be included in such an elite group of finalists has been a humbling experience. I am blessed in my life to have my family and friends who have always supported me,” said Jim Dehlin, the inaugural Living Legend Award Recipient. “I am especially thankful to my son Jesse, who honored me as his Dad by nominating me. Many thanks to Stormy Kromer and all who voted,” Dehlin added.

As part of his Living Legend status, Dehlin receives a $500 Stormy Kromer gift certificate and a donation to the charity of his choice. Three percent of Stormy Kromer sales between January 9 and January 31, 2012, will be given to Homes for Our Troops, which builds specially adapted homes for disabled veterans.

“We see ourselves as a bit of a legend up here,” said Gina Thorsen, of the company which created its iconic ear-flap cap in 1903 and dozens of hand-stitched outdoor apparel items since that time, “but when we started reviewing the entries into our Living Legends contest, we were humbled to the point of speechlessness. These are incredible people, and Jim Dehlin is truly a hero. On behalf of the Stormy Kromer name, we are honored to recognize him as our inaugural Stormy Kromer Living Legend.”

Seeking all Living Legends

Maybe it was the uncle who came back from the war, cleared his land and built a home out of timbers he split by hand. Or the little old neighbor-lady who killed a bear with a stick to protect a group of schoolchildren. Or maybe it’s just someone you know who has gone out of the way—way out of the way—to build a legendary life for themselves and those around them.

Either way, that’s who Stormy Kromer is seeking for its 2012 Living Legends Contest. Enter your grandma, your neighbor—heck, even your dog—and tell us why they’re a living legend by November 11, 2011.

As we previously shared, we will choose 10 finalists, then let you vote for the grand prize winner. The winner will receive:

a $500 Stormy Kromer gift certificate,

a feature in our 2012 catalog,

and a gift to the charity of their choice*.

Yes, we agree that this is a great prize.

So nominate the Living Legend in your life.  We want to honor those folks who, like Mr. Kromer, have done extraordinary things and are living a legendary life.   There are a lot legendary people out there and we want to hear about them and see how their stories might inspire others. We also think we can do a little good in their honor by donating a portion of our sales to their favorite charity.

Who are the Living Legends that you know? Please share in the comments below (after submitting the official nomination form of course!).

(Having trouble filling out the form?  Be sure to save it to your computer first, then fill it out and save it.)

* Stormy Kromer will donate 3% of online sales from 1/9/12 through 1/31/12 to the charity of the winning legend’s choice.

Stormy Kromer Living Legend 2012

Nominee’s Name: Paul “Bunyan” Bjornson

Nominee’s Residence: Sugar Camp, WI

Nominee’s Email: iheartlogging@mail.ox

Please tell us in 750 words or less, why your nominee is a Stormy Kromer Living Legend:  Paul was born and raised in Mercer, WI and spent his childhood fishing for walleye on many of the local lakes and flowages.  He attended country school near Mercer, and after graduating, took a job as a woodshop instructor in Minocqua, a position he held for nearly 41 years.

Paul is a bighearted man, and although he is only 5’1″, his laughter and personality fill any room he is in.  He was loved by all his woodworking students, who always looked up to him, at least when they were sitting.

Paul loves long walks in the woods with his dog, “Ox,” a blue healer he has had for many years.  He is also a world-class whittler.  He volunteers frequently and is a long-time donor at the Oneida County Forest Services Center.  He attends The Church of the Good Sheppard in Sugar Camp, where he sings in the choir with a beautiful tenor voice.  He loves flamenco dancing, reruns and cattle-herding.

Okay, okay, you’re right, there is no such person as Paul “Bunyan” Bjornson.  Or maybe there is, but any resemblance of the above to a real person is completely coincidental.  This nomination is, well, hogwash.

However, we know that there are many, many folks out there who are just as legendary as say, George and Ida Kromer.  And we want to hear about them.  And honor them.  That’s why we’re launching Stormy Kromer Living Legend 2012 .

Read the details and official rules, then nominate anyone you know who is a living legend.  Someone with a story that would make even Stormy himself crack a smile, or shed a tear.  (And by golly, that didn’t happen often.)

Nominations are open through November 11, at which point Stormy Kromer employees will select 10 finalists.  You will vote for the Grand Prize Winner.  In addition to having the honor of being put in the same league of legendary-ness as George, the winner will get some other cool stuff, including a $500 Kromer gift certificate and a donation to the charity of their choice.

So feel free to share your thoughts below about being legendary, but be sure to fill out the official nomination form and submit it by November 11.  We can’t wait to read your stories!