Welcome to Kevin & Company!!



Kevin & Company is the vehicle we use to connect with friends and family to share our life's adventures.

Here we hope to share with you some of the stories, adventures, photos, and articles about the places we get to see, the people we get to meet,
and how God's plan is unfolding in our lives. And of course one man's view of the world.


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Remember, Look Up, Live Life, and Be Thankful

Kevin

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hope in the Dark

Article published Dec. 30, 2009
Meade County Messenger

Hope in the Dark

by Kevin Hatfield


Radio transmission… (Widowmaker main…Widowmaker main…we are under fire, repeat we are under fire…over) (Understand Sable… under fire… Widowmaker 23 and 26 are patrolling your sectorMove back to adjacent rally point... They are coming in hot…Over)

It was one of the darkest nights I had seen since I’ve been here in Afghanistan.  We breached the compound and had taken up position on the rooftop next to the main building.  Everything was going according to plan.  Intel said the high value target was inside, when it all started.

We threw flash bang grenades in through a window and rounds came out from everywhere.  There was a machine gunner inside a tower just on the far side of the building dug in deep.  We returned fire but the rounds were flying both ways.

We could hear the apache coming when the cannons opened up.  Widowmaker 23 put a hundred rounds through the windows and doors.  Tracer rounds exploded when they hit. I had to look away because it was so bright.  We threw everything we had at the building. Parts of the wall were falling; we could hear the bullets flying by and see the grenades explode. It was so loud… oh, I could hardly think. It looked like the Fourth of July.  I could see everything like a spotlight had lit up the courtyard. I couldn’t believe anybody was left alive inside.  Then I felt the hit…

Radio transmission… (Medivac!!… Medivac!! We have a man down!  Extract from rally point bravo ASAP!!!)  (Negative Sable…LZ (landing zone) to hot, repeat LZ to hot...)

I woke up at Walter Reed hospital.  I was doing better according to the doctors.  I ask my wife what happened.  She told me an officer came to get her and said I had been shot, but was stable.  They flew me back here for treatment.  My squad leader, Sgt. Machmehan, called about a week ago to check on me and share some details. I had taken a direct fire through the chest and fell from the rooftop into the courtyard.  They dragged me out to the rally point but the Medivac couldn’t pick me up because we were still under fire.

Seems one of the Apaches, Widowmaker 23 flew me out to the refueling point to meet the Medivac.  I tried to explain to her that wasn’t right because it only holds two people and it takes two pilots to fly.  Then she told me the rest of the story…

Widowmaker 23, the flight leader, had taken rounds which degraded his aircraft and wouldn’t fire the weapons.  Widowmaker 26, his flight wingman, took over the engagement and 23 moved above to observe and handle radio communications.  He heard the Medivac call… He also heard Sable say you would die if you weren’t evacuated.  Widowmaker 23 landed in the hot LZ and put out his copilot to make room for you.  He flew you back to meet the Medivac at the refueling station without weapons, no copilot, and came back for another person before picking up the other pilot.

I’ve thought that night through a thousand times as I work my way through rehab. The sounds still haunt me in the night but now I’m not alone. We each find ourselves in our own darkness, when we think we have no hope. But I remember a special promise.  Jesus said He would never leave us or never forget us. In my darkness he sent a pilot who against all odds carried me to safety.  He carried me to a new beginning, one with hope. 


When the night falls in around me… I don’t think I’ll make it through… I’ll use your light to guide the way… All I think about is you… 


Dedicated to my dearest friend...
CW3 Marcus Hazel
101st Airborne Division

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Coming Home

Article published Dec. 23, 2009
Meade County Messenger

Coming Home

By Kevin Hatfield


The dawning sun sparkled across the frosty grass looking out my kitchen window.  The house was still quiet and peaceful as I reached for the coffee pot and began my day.  The wind was blowing outside and I couldn’t help myself but to crack the door open just enough to feel the cold air.  It was so crisp and clean as it blew winter’s edge through the doorway.  Kind of refreshing it seems, unhindered in some ways, brutal in others.  It’s been three years since I’ve felt this kind of cold.  Three years since that cold chilled me to the bones.  Aw… but what three years will do.  But that’s the story isn’t it?

And when they had done all the things according to the law they (Mary, Joseph, and Jesus) returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth to start a new life.  And Jesus grew strong and in the ways of God. (Luke 2)

I lay awake that night, three years ago, about an hour before the shelter opened.  I’ll never forget that feeling, waiting for the sun to rise so I could make my way from the rail yard to the shelter to get warmed up.  Each minute passed slowly, I could hear the wind then too, but then it meant something totally different to me, it meant death.  I couldn’t feel anything, but yet everything hurt in some way, almost frozen to my bed of boxes. My cardboard ‘house’ didn’t slow the wind down much, and many of my kind had lost this battle on nights like this. At dawn I walked best I could into the shelter’s warmth when I was greeted by a child no more than eleven with a smile and “Good morning.”

Good I thought and ignored her as I passed.  “Good morning, sir!” again she insisted.  “Did you see my button?”  I turned to face her almost angrily and there it was, a button proudly proclaiming, “CLEAN the air, use kind words.” In bold green letters.   I couldn’t help myself, I had to laugh, how ridicules a thought this was in my circumstances.  A second ago I just about polluted it with profanity, but somehow this young girl reached into my frozen heart.  You see I was a father once, before tragedy struck my life.  That coupled with bad choices and no will to go on led me here today.  Nothing to cry about, that’s just the way it is.

I moved through the breakfast line, but made my way back towards our door greeter just to hear the brightness in her voice.  It was no problem finding a seat near the door.  The air blew in every time it opened and nobody wanted to be reminded that soon we would all be back outside in the cold again.  I watched her greet each person with the same enthusiasm as they entered.  It didn’t even seem to bother her that we smelled bad. She was filled with so much joy, if she was nervous it didn’t show.  I HAD to know; there had to be a story behind this button.  So as I eat my grits and toast, I ask, “Where did you get that button?”  She smiled the biggest smile and proudly proclaimed “Sunday School.”  She began to tell me about kindness and how our words carry feelings.  She reminded me so much of my little girl so long ago...




I left the shelter that day.  I thought about what she told me about being kind and how our words carry feelings.  Feelings… the more I thought about it the more I realized how long it had been since I had real feelings.  I thought about this for a long time and finally let myself feel again. And when I did, the floodgates of old emotions came pouring out.  I cried for most of the day.  I thought of my little girl, that died so young, and my wife. Oh, how I missed them. At last, I settled in on the thoughts of how I got here.

That night I don’t think I slept at all. My mind raced through the years and times past.  I barely felt the cold.  I felt like I had finally found myself again.  I couldn’t get over that little girl.  Why was she there?  Why was she so happy?  Who was she?  And that button “CLEAN the air, use kind words.”

The next couple of months were a whirlwind of change.  It all began with those kind words from a little girl that encouraged me.  After going through a series of shelters and half way houses, with some help from community programs, I found a place of my own.  I started a job at the grocery store, stocking and cleaning at night.  My world had flipped from homeless to hopeful all because of one little girl and a button.

As time went on I settled into a good position at the grocery store chain, and found myself managing a small store not too far from the shelter. I walked passed one day; I couldn’t believe how far my life had come since that cold winter morning.  Now, when the cold wind blows, I think about how I got a second chance at life.  That cold wind is refreshing now. Looking back, it blew in CLEAN air and one small girl.

Mary and Joseph left for Bethlehem but it was over two years before they made their way back home.  And even though Nazareth was home to them now, their lives had changed more than they could have dreamed.  Many of us make plans and goals that don’t turn out the way we hoped because of life’s circumstances.  But the one thing that remains a constant, Love.  Kindness in the story is an extension of a Love that can only be found in God.  Kind words and actions can make differences in people’s lives.  It creates hope, encouragement, and strength.  As this Christmas season comes to a close and things get back to normal, I hope you find it unusual.  By that I mean, I hope you’ve found Love.  The Christmas gift of Love that God gave us in Jesus is a kindness that is meant for every heart to feel and to share.  It’s my hope, it’s my prayer, that you have found your CLEAN air… in Love.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Disconnected

Article published on Dec. 16, 2009
Meade County Messenger

Disconnected

By Kevin Hatfield
The room was dimly light as he stood as the foot of her bed.  Just a few short years ago she was a baby laying in his arms, and now his little girl of ten lay sleeping.  So many nights he tucked her in with bedtime stories and saying prayers side by side on their knees.  A great relationship these two have, she’s daddy’s little girl.  But tonight all that happiness seems to have faded off in the distance.  Tonight is another night by her hospital bed.

He wonders “why? She’s just a child?”  But sometimes life doesn’t give us these answers.  So the loving hugs and smiles they shared were replaced with just lifeless sleep.  No story time, no butterfly kisses, only the memories of how it used to be, how it was supposed to be.  Now it’s just him watching her, instead of them, together.  He felt as if he had a hole in his life, an absence that he couldn’t fill.  He would do anything to make it like it was, before this.

Wise men from east of Jerusalem had heard the old prophetic stories their whole lives, of how God would send a savior to the world to save all of his people.  The story passed down from family to family, generation to generation.  Much like grandma sitting in her rocking chair sharing wisdom to the grandchildren at her feet… “I remember when I was young…” But when a bright star in the east appeared the wise men knew they had to see for themselves.  They journeyed far, day and night, to find this small child.  They came with the hopes of offering three small gifts and to worship him.  When they found him with Mary they did just that.  They knew, and saw with there very eyes, this king told in the old stories.
God sat at the edge of heaven looking down at the people on the earth, much like the father overlooking his daughter’s bed.  He couldn’t stand to see them suffer.  So he sent a special gift to the earth, a child to born to Mary that would change everything.  Funny thing is a gift that is never opened isn’t much of a gift.  A present must be received to be something special.  This Christmas find your present and open it. It’s filled with a relationship founded in Love.  Like the wise men found out for themselves, it’s worth it.
He was sitting in the chair by her bed when she squeezed his hand, “Daddy?”  “Yes honey!!!”  “I love you.”  “I love you too.  Doctor says we get to go home tomorrow.”  “Okay.  Will you read to me?” “You bet I will.”

Never forget what you have. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Innocence

Article Published in the Meade Co. Messenger on December 9, 2009
by Kevin Hatfield

The day had been a long one, filled with the usual pressures, as Karl finished his evening sitting at his desk, staring face to face with his laptop.  The coffee he nursed filled the study with rich aroma as his daughter walked in.  She asked if she could do her homework in here with him if she promised to be quiet.  Karl agreed, knowing she would be hard pressed to keep her promise, but he let her anyway.  In the background he had his usual selection of music faintly playing a soothing sound of worship that drifted through the air.
He was hard focused on his task at hand trying to meet a deadline, when soft humming caught his attention.  He paused, and then looked over his screen to see his youngest girl fully engrossed in her math, but humming to the music just the same.
The song played on and she continued never missing a beat, completely oblivious to her harmonic sounds.  What he saw was a glimpse of pure innocence.  Her face changing as she thought through her homework,
almost angelic in beauty. Daddy’s girl didn’t know the true evils of this world yet, and was completely content sharing the study with her Daddy. He felt a lump swell up in his throat and a tear came to his eye. All he could do was watch and share in song of her heart.
Mary was in the manger when the shepherds came in.  Telling a story about an angel, and how they followed a star just to see this baby. When they had finished she looked down at Jesus in her arms, Joseph by her side, and saw true innocence. A baby born, given to all of mankind for one purpose, to share the perfect gift, Love.  She pondered these things in her heart.
Many years later, she watched the terrible scene of her son being beaten, and then paraded through the streets of town to full fill that gift of love.  As he hung on the cross in open shame before all, she again remembered that night so long ago, and could still see the innocence.
Karl and many of us will spend Christmas with family and friends this year hoping we bought the right presents.  Wondering how we shall recover from all the spending.  But the real Christmas is celebrated in our hearts, sharing in a story of love and kindness, filled with peace and joy.
This year let’s get past the usual and find what Karl found right in front of him. This Christmas besides enjoying family and feast, find the true innocence.  God has pulled up two chairs, sat down, invited you over, and said “Let’s talk.”


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We The People

We The People: "Words of Wisdom: Wretchedness and Opression
As we sit on the edge of the greatest power grab in our nation's history, I feel that is important to look to our Founding Fathers for their wisdom. Never before have these words rang more true than in the day and time we live in now.

'We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.
We must make our election between economy and liberty
or profusion and servitude.
If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and
in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and
our amusements, for our calling and our creeds...
[we will] have no time to think,
no means of calling our miss-managers to account
but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves
to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers...
And this is the tendency of all human governments.
A departure from principle in one instance
becomes a precedent for [another ]...
till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery...
And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt.
Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.'


Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Samuel Kercheval, Monticello, July 12, 1816"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Shepherds





Article Published Dec. 2,2009 Meade Co. Messenger








The Shepherds



By Kevin Hatfield




The gentle evening breeze blew out the fading sun as the shepherds’ day came to an end. The sun had been especially hot and they were tired as they put the animals down for the night. With all today’s activities coming to a close they settled down around a small fire, snacking on a small meal, and reminiscing the struggles of their day. As dusk faded into dark and their conversation wound down something happened that would change their lives forever…



As we approach Christmas this year we come face to face with difficult challenges. We find ourselves in precarious times, the worst recession in my adult lifetime, a weakening dollar, record unemployment, foreclosures, and a troubled real estate market, to say the least. Safe to say Christmas couldn’t come at a worse time for many families in our area. But with all these pressures there is still hope.

Times are changing and we must change with them. Our culture of .coms, huge profits, and excessive living have come to a close. We must adapt our lifestyles to fit our budgets; get back to the basics if you will.

Vincent Lombardi, all American football coach began each season with a lecture to veteran players and rookies alike. Holding up a football in one hand and said, “This is a football…” Get back to the fundamental basics.

The basics: In generations past, before the big economic boom, families helped families, neighbors knew each other, and people took care of people. Christmas wasn’t about how big the gift was, or how much we spent. It was about families getting together and sharing. It was about celebrating Christmas a time of joy, not worries, and financial pressures. It was about Love and the first present, the real gift.

The story I started with is a back story of what might have happened to the Shepherds you read about in Luke Chapter 2 of your bible. But my question is this; What would cause these shepherds to leave their flock and begin a journey to Bethlehem? What could possibly be so important to them to walk away from everything they had worked for? The answer…Hope.


The shepherds were also in an economic struggle. They were oppressed by a Roman occupation of their country with no end in sight. Taxation to Caesar taking from their ‘pockets’ at every turn. Which is why Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. The shepherds knew the stories of a leader that would come and deliver them, but not just some leader, a messiah, a deliverer.


…Just as they were about to fall asleep for the night, a bright light surrounded them, and a group of angels were with them around their fire. They were so scared they couldn’t even move. Then one spoke “Fear not, I bring good tidings of great joy…” The angel told them a baby was going to be born in a manger and to follow the star. They immediately left guided only by the star to the manger to see the hope they had prayed would come. The savior, the messiah, the deliverer of all mankind.



This Christmas we still have this hope. Our present given to us back in Bethlehem is love. A love that is much more important than anything we could purchase this year. Better than the toys or electronics that will become old and outdated. It’s something that will last and see us through our struggles. It’s a love that is bigger than just some empty story, it’s a love that will guide you to help a neighbor in hard times. Give you support from a church family as you struggle. It will help you make good decisions, and direct you to be a better person. And it’s already paid for.


It led shepherds to leave all they had to find, and guide you back to find all you left chasing the American dream.

This Christmas let’s find the basics in our homes: Faith, Hope, and Love. The real present is Love. And that’s a Christmas worth celebrating.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Life International

Found this pretty interesting. My Daughter's class went on a trip here and did some community service work. She really enjoyed the trip. Please watch video.

How much difference we can all make if we only try.

Remember look up, live life, and be thankful.

Kevin

New Life International » Videos and Presentations

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

UN: Record 1 billion go hungry - Channel One News


UN: Record 1 billion go hungry - Channel One News

(Photo by Amanda Braisted, GO Ministries DR)

Somehow in our world today, all wrapped up in ourselves, we still have tragedy's such as this. Another interesting article that summarizes by saying one out of 6.7 children will die of starvation, or one every 6 seconds. Do I have the solution? No, but nothing is not the answer.


Remember those who can't do for themselves. Let's do something.


Kevin


UN: Record 1 billion go hungry

By TOM MALITI and ARIEL DAVID - 5 hours ago
Parents in some of Africa's poorest countries are cutting back on school, clothes and basic medical care just to give their children a meal once a day, experts say. Still, it is not enough.
A record 1 billion people worldwide are hungry and a new report says the number will increase if governments do not spend more on agriculture. According to the U.N. food agency, which issued the report, 30 countries now require emergency aid, including 20 in Africa.
The trend continues despite a goal set by world leaders nine years ago to cut the number of hungry people in half by 2015.
"It's actually a world emergency that calls for action from both developing and developed countries," said Otive Igbuzor, the head of international campaigns for ActionAid International.
"We know a child dies every six seconds of malnutrition," he said.
Spiraling food prices have added to hardships, especially in the world's most desperate countries where the poor could barely afford a single daily meal to begin with. The inflated prices — which caused riots across the globe last year — have stabilized but remain comparatively high, especially in the developing world, Jacques Diouf, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, told AP Television News.
In Somalia, ravaged by violence and anarchy for almost two decades, the monthly expenditure for food and other basic needs for a family of six has risen 85 percent in the past two years, said Grainne Moloney of the Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit.
On average, such a family spent $171 in September this year, compared with $92 for the same amount of food and other needs in March 2007, said Moloney, a nutrition expert for the Horn of Africa nation.
"Families are cutting out the school, cutting out the clothes. A lot of them are going for cheaper cereals," said Moloney, adding that despite those desperate measures, one in five children in Somalia is acutely malnourished.
Igbuzor said the trend can be seen in impoverished countries across Africa.
In Kenya, herders have seen scores of their animals die and crops have withered because of drought. Today, 3.8 million people in Kenya need food aid, up from 2.5 million earlier in the year.
After worldwide gains in the fight against hunger in the 1980s and early 1990s, the number of undernourished people started climbing in 1995, reaching 1.02 billion this year amid escalating food prices and the global financial meltdown, the FAO said in its Wednesday report.
The long-term trend is due largely to reduced aid and private investments earmarked for agriculture since the mid 1980s, the Rome-based agency said in its State of Food Insecurity report for 2009.
In 1980, 17 percent of aid contributed by donor countries went to agriculture. That share was down to 3.8 percent in 2006 and only slightly improved in the last three years, Diouf said.
"In the fight against hunger the focus should be on increasing food production," Diouf said. "It's common sense ... that agriculture would be given the priority, but the opposite has happened."
The decline may have been caused by low food prices that discouraged private investment in agriculture and competition for public funds from other aid fields, including emergency relief, said FAO economist David Dawe.

Governments and investors may also have chosen to put their money into other economic sectors because agriculture's share of the economy in some developing countries dropped as people moved to cities and found work in industry.
But agriculture still needs sustained investment to feed people in developing countries, Dawe said.
The world's most populous region, Asia and the Pacific, has the largest number of hungry people — 642 million — followed by Sub-Saharan Africa with 265 million.
Diouf said world leaders are starting to understand that investment in agriculture must be increased. He cited the goal set by the Group of Eight summit in L'Aquila, Italy, in July to raise $20 billion to help farmers in poor countries produce more — a shift from previous emphasis on delivering food aid.
However, more investments will be needed to fulfill pledges like the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, which aim to halve the number of those living in hunger and poverty by 2015, the report said.
The FAO says global food output will have to increase by 70 percent to feed a projected population of 9.1 billion in 2050.
To achieve that, poor countries will need $44 billion in annual agricultural aid, compared with the current $7.9 billion, to increase access to irrigation systems and modern machinery as well as build roads and train farmers.
__
Associated Press writer Ariel David reported from Rome.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A day downstream





I spent today relaxing and spending time with the family, or La familia to my Latino friends. We went canoeing with a local outfitter http://www.cavecountrycanoe.com on blue river in Milltown, IN. Funny thing about canoeing, you're never really sure how the day will turn out. I think it went really well, at least it did in my canoe. The other canoe, found it's own problems as the day progressed.



Felicia and I each took a canoe and a daughter and headed down river. The weather was good today for such a trip, a balmy 75 degrees, the water temperature was cool but not cold. Just about perfect, so to speak. We talked, we laughed, we splashed, and we sang.



Shortly after a swim, the day began to turn. It started with a change in the weather from sunny to cloudy, and eventually a light rain. But that even wasn't bad as far as I'm concerned. As we passed through one of the rapids along this journey, my wife encountered a rock about mid way in the canoe. Which led to her demise and another short swim. Only this time it filled her canoe with water and drowned everything she had in it. Even the dog wasn't happy about the circumstances. But that's canoeing on blue river, sometimes you paddle, sometimes you just ride, and sometimes you swim. After righting the canoe and helping another family right their canoe we continued on down stream.


As we paddled we had a chance to reflect on today. To summarize, life is full of choices. Each day brings it's own challenges much like the river. Many days are just a simple smooth ride down stream, but some days bring turmoil and problems. I took today's circumstances to talk to the kids about working through problems, keeping a level head, and making good decisions. We all make mistakes like not avoiding the rock, but we learn from them and try to do better next time. To 'steer' in the right direction.


My life has recently taken one of these turns. As I went downstream I saw an impasse much like the rock that stood in Felicia's way. Although it wasn't something so easy to avoid by turning the paddle. It involved leaving a company I had grown familiar with and starting a new relationship with another one. The impasse I came to was much like the rock sitting in the river, sturdy, unchanging, and easily seen if you know what to look for. As I came to the it I steered. It ended a season with a company I have a long history with, but opened up a new opportunity. An opportunity that I have high hopes for.


Today ended my first week with the new team, and although I'm not settled in yet, I've made up my mind to approach this change like many I've made before. To have a positive attitude, and do my best. To build new relationships and stop crying over those that have ended. To grow and learn, but also to share and teach. All we have is who we are and the time we are given. I decided to make the most of it. Jim Rohn a motivational speaker once said in a speech that "life is like the ocean, the wind is always blowing, there will always be the rise and fall of the waves. Don't ask for better wind, that's naive, set a better sail." So I set a better sail.


The trip ended with the four of us cold and wet (five if you include the dog, which we always do), heading home with the memories of a Saturday afternoon spent canoeing blue river. But deep down I felt it was something more. Today was spent on the river in a canoe, but we each learned our own life's lesson. We invested time in each other and to me that's a good investment.


Through my years as a salesman I kept a philosophy taped to my desk that I read every morning. I think it keeps life in perspective. This will clearify how if feel about my day today, and it's worth sharing.

"This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important because I’m exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss; good, not evil; success, not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it. May I have sufficient wisdom and courage that this shall be my record for today." ~Og Mandino



Remember Look up, Live life, and Be thankful


Kevin