Some try to stand out, others remain prepared to stand in for others when help is needed.
When these stand-in people are around, problems seem to find solutions. Tasks that need doing seem to get done seamlessly without fanfare or drama. Though these stand-in people are understated, it’s their willingness to be available and their hard work that makes easier living for the rest.
Kevin Craig is such a person. Whether he’s volunteering for the fire department, church and public schools, or at his work as manager of Lakeside Bible Camp, life goes along more smoothly for others when Craig is involved. Craig says he wants to make himself available for others, adding his favorite acronym is T.E.A.M. — “Together Everyone can Achieve More.”
“Before Kevin became a volunteer firefighter, I worked annually with him on the department holiday parties for years,” says Fire District 3 administrator Paula Schuler.
“Kevin’s super to work with, funny, congenial and plays well with others while doing a superior job. He makes himself accessible and ready to fill the gap whenever needed. He really knows how to live, laugh and love well.”
Craig says he takes life as it comes.
“Life is going to keep coming, and changing. My faith that God is in control helps me cope with all the changes that happen. I try to be ready for whatever life brings and be accessible any time of day or night for people.”
Craig means any time, says Scott Iverson, volunteer and ferry supervisor.
“Kevin is the guy I call at 3 a.m. to come and give me a jump to start my car, and he would do it! (Even before he was part of the fire department.) When you talk about Kevin, the first thing that pops up in your mind is ‘others.’ He is always thinking of other people first and wants to make you look good, and he does not care about getting recognition for himself. You can always rely on Kevin to help, no matter what,” says Iverson.
Craig looks at any community as a team of people working together, filling in where help is needed. But does he ever get annoyed by those middle-of-the-night calls?
“It would be really convenient if people only needed help at two in the afternoon or during daylight hours. But that just isn’t how life is. So if it’s
2 a.m. when help is needed, I’ll be there to help,” replies Craig.
“I don’t second guess or make judgments about why something happened. I hear ‘problem,’ and then I want to help find a solution in a quick and positive way,” he says.
He states this with all sincerity but at the same time in a matter-of-fact attitude. He isn’t one to show a large range of emotions; nor would he let on to a person that there is any inconvenience, even if it’s of great incommode.
“When someone is in need, they aren’t interested in my problems, they just need help.
“Being available also means being willing to get out of my comfort zone.
I am not one to contemplate ‘why’ this or that, I am more interested in ‘how’
I can assist with the solution.”
Some people may ask themselves why is there AIDS in the world, for example. Or why do some starve while others have too much?
“I know in my finite mind I can never find a plausible answer that will satisfy me, so I don’t think about it. My faith is strong, and I know God has a full picture. That doesn’t mean I don’t think I shouldn’t help whenever I can. It just means that I don’t want to become paralyzed by dwelling on the unfairness or atrocities in this world.”
Craig says he recites to himself regularly the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things
I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Craig says, “I have to take care of my family and myself first off, so I am capable to help others. This means
I occasionally need to decline a request to help.”
He remembers how his parents were always about service, and helping people in their church and community.
“Our home had guests dropping in daily, and my mom always had a table full of food ready for them. Because of their generous modeling, I wanted to have an open-door policy, too, in my home. Campers come often to play games or have dinner with us and they are welcome.”
Craig’s mother died this past summer. He says he could see where, if he let himself, he could have allowed himself to become incapacitated by grief.
“I reminded myself that mom would not want me to wallow in grief. So
I moved forward, remember her always, enjoy the time we had but not dwell on the loss.
“I was raised in a Christian home, and I have never left the faith, and I believe it strongly. However,
I respect others faiths and would never condemn another person for believing differently than I. I have had someone say they would like to have a faith like mine, but they just cannot believe in something they cannot see. I say, well, there’s always a starting point to anything.”
Michelle Greene works with Craig at Lakeside Bible Camp. She says his faith is his life.
“We first met Kevin eight years ago when we moved here. When our daughter was born, he worked in the nursery at church so I could attend the morning Bible study. I didn’t realize for many weeks that he didn’t actually work in the nursery. He was just doing that so
I could have some grown-up time.”
Another time, Greene said she had mentioned to him about a family that was in dire need of food. Craig immediately donated food to help them out.
“Kevin is the kind of person who you want as your next-door neighbor. When the power goes off, he will be the one standing at your door asking if you need anything,” says Fire
District 3 Capt. Jerry Beck of Clinton. “He is a very responsible and compassionate person, and wants to help persons who are in need.”
Kevin wants to be on hand when a need arises and to be part of the team whether that’s two people or 50 people.
He says, “I desire to live out the words from Micah 6:8 … ‘but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.’
“To try and live this way,” Craig says, “I’ve got to be prepared to make myself available.”