July 2015…a tough month for the Sweeneys, ending with Steve as a passenger on a careflight ride from Raton, NM to Santa Fe. He had been hiking on the Philmont Scout Camp, with the scout troop, and contracted pneumonia along the way.
We had a lot of logistics to consider, but the one I would like to focus on today is the story of the car. Steve drove half of the troop in his Acura MDX to the camp and now we were challenged with two things: getting the scouts home, and getting the car home.
Boy Scouts have a hard rule that a scout must be 18 or over to drive other scouts. None of those in the troop were over 17. Even so, we hoped we could obtain a waiver so the 17 year olds could drive the car back to Dallas. No such luck.
Still, the scouts needed to get home, since they arrived in Steve’s car. Amazingly enough, another troop from Dallas was leaving the same day as our troop. And amazingly, there were three spots available for extra passengers.
At Philmont, the staff calls this ‘A Philmont thing’. I call it a God thing, and the rest of the story helps you understand why.
Thankfully, we have many friends on Facebook. Since Cathy had been posting, some friends had offered help. We connected with a friend from our Longhorn Band days who lives and conducts band programs in Cimmaron, NM (Pam).
Pam had resources who were willing to drive two cars to Santa Fe for shopping. But the best resource was a woman who worked the front desk at Philmont, who was out of town for a few days.
Cathy was prepared to drive up to Philmont to get the car. At the last minute, Pam reached front desk friend (Dede) on her first morning back to Philmont.
As Pam relayed the problem to Dede, Dede covered the phone mouthpiece, and asked the group congregated in the lobby if anyone was headed to Santa Fe that morning.
One man stepped forward. “I am,” said Elder Anderson, a chaplain with the camp, representing the LDS faith group ( Philmont staffs 2 LDS, 2 Jewish, 2 Catholic, and 2 Protestant.chaplains at the camp).
“I am headed to St. Vincent’s to visit a camper named Steve Sweeney.”
You can guess the rest. Elder Anderson and his wife, Mary, delivered the car around noon.
Do not try to convince me that God is not real. I saw God today in the faces of two people who sacrificed time and energy to help their neighbor. Thank you, Philmont. Your chaplains give their best so we can feel the love of God around us. Today, we remember that God is good, because we have lived it.