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home : columns : columns August 23, 2017

6/28/2013 2:14:00 PM
Remembering a hero, answering God's call

My hero and friend was Harmon Killebrew, Hall of Fame baseball player. Harmon passed away on May 17, 2011, of cancer.

I have the first letter that he sent me after I had written him when I was a little boy back in Minnesota.

I had something so special happen to me yesterday. I was reading the article that I had on my Facebook page about Harmon announcing that he was dying of cancer and was going into hospice and spending his final days at home with friends and family. I read that and God said, "Call Harmon's wife!"

So, I went to the phone and dialed directory assistance and got Harmon's widow, Nita, on the phone! We had a wonderful conversation for almost 45 minutes! She is a woman of God, as Harmon was a man of God. She shared with me the final days of Harmon's life and the friends that came to visit before he passed onto heaven.

I was blessed to have Harmon on my radio show twice -- once for 2 hours! I grew up communicating with this man for several years and watching him play baseball.

I told Nita the most "anger" I ever saw come out of Harmon was when he was on TV months before he died telling players to stop using steroids and clean up the game. Harmon set an example for all of us with his testimony, his actions on and off the field of Godly excellence.

Now, at one time, Harmon went through great personal struggles -- divorce, financial and health -- but God restored him. Through those struggles Harmon taught many that we may be down and out, but God can restore us. God is the only one who can truly restore us.

Why did God have me pick up the phone and call Nita Killebrew? I never ask God why. I just do it, you would have thought from listening to that conversation that Nita and I knew each other for years! It was a Godly opportunity to share our love for Harmon.

Nita said that after Harmon passed on and when she went to the Hall of Fame induction the next year, she went to the Sunday church service at the Hall of Fame and in came Reggie Jackson! Nita said that he gave the most wonderful testimony how Jesus changed his life!

Here's the real deal folks once again: Jesus is the only one who can truly change lives. Reggie used to be an EGOmaniac, a mean person, full of anger. But God healed him.

It is such a blessing to be in tune to God and have Him tell you what to do, like call Nita Killebrew.

By the way for you Minnesota Twins fans, can you tell me who hit the first inside-the-park home run at the Old Met? Yes, it was Harmon! Who would have thought? You didn't know Harmon could run so fast did you! LOL! LOL! Nita made sure to tell me that, it was one of the final laughs Harmon had with Nita and Twins great Tony Oliva before passing through the gates of heaven.

This verse comes to mind when I think of Harmon: "The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression." Proverbs 19:11

Many of us get into real trouble in our relationships because we insist on being "right." We demand that everyone see things our way; and because we refuse to overlook a transgression, we end up alienating our friends and family.

I don't know if Harmon ever got thrown out of a game by an umpire? Do you? He showed great patience, on and off the field -- a great testimony too many of us. My prayer this day is that this world would have more role models like Harmon; more role models who have God as their ultimate hero and role model. Harmon was part of my growing up, part of the foundation of my life, and for that I am eternally grateful.

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