My New Hero

I have a new hero and his name is John deCuellas. He is a linguist from Cambridge Massachusetts whom I had the pleasure of meeting during my adventures in Panama. John is 81 years old and participated with the rest of us team members in the Mother Nature CEO program we just took part in and completed in the jungle of Panama.

This was not like any ordinary program. This was a unique adventure program, with jungle hikes and kayaking, where we slept for days in tents with little comfort and interacted with the natives from various villages. John did everything everybody else did; he hiked for 6 hours, waded through streams, descended on a rope through steep hills, plunged down waterfalls and rapids and contributed to all chores that needed to be done.

81 years old and he had not one complaint. Declining any offer for help and assistance, he just kept going.

I found his strength and willingness at his age to be inspiring, so I had to ask him what it is that drives him to do these things. For him, it was the fun and excitement of doing new things that made him adventurous.

How do you do it I said? And his answer was as simple and humble as you would expect from him; if your mind wants to do it you can do anything.

The funny thing is, I think John will still be doing this when he is 90!

He is my new Hero!

I can only hope I can keep my mind controlling my body and be able to do a fraction of what John does when I am his age.

– Paul Keijzer

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2 thoughts on “My New Hero

  1. John de Cuevas is deeply honored and flattered by your description of him as your “New Hero,” but if you knew him as well as I do, you would see through the fancy front he puts on and discover behind it an ordinary fellow, more than a little foolish for his age in undertaking physical exertions better suited to younger men, and pretentious too in his show of fortitude. The fact is, he was ready to fold at just about every step of the way, and it was only his arrogance that kept him going, not to mention his ignorance of the risks he was undertaking in trying to keep up with younger, fitter men.

    I’m telling you this because you don’t really want to have as a hero a man who’s basically a fraud, an accomplished poseur, and a charlatan par excellence. As Groucho Marx said, “I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member,” and that’s the way I feel about John de Cuevas.

    But joking aside, Paul, it pleases me very much that you have these illusions and think of me the way you do. My respect and esteem for you in return is boundless, and the pleasure of your company on our jungle venture was one of the attractions that made it such a huge success.

    Cheers, John

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