Steve Was Just Being…Steve
Steve Klepatz, RFK Camp Counselor in the early 2000’s for FTC Chicago Southland, hosted by the Stone Church in Orland Park, passed away this March at 60 years of age. We want to share a story that shows what kind of man and counselor he was for our children.
We once had a camper named Johnny, who was a diamond in the rough with a tough attitude. He was a boy who said he wanted to be a man. It was clear that the only model of manhood that he had was his imprisoned and embattled father.
Luckily, he found a different model in Steve, who demonstrated that men could be strong yet gentle. Steve helped the boy with his batter’s stance and never raised his voice when he got it wrong. Steve didn’t leave the boy alone no matter how bad his behavior was. Steve was there to protect him as he slept and when the boy woke up, he was happy to see him.
Steve was just being Steve. But to a boy abandoned due to imprisonment and family break up, his experience with Steve showed him a different way of expressing masculinity. In Steve, Johnny the boy found a man who sat with him at mealtime, laughed with him during the silly drama play and tucked him in safely at bedtime.
We like to imagine Jesus walking with Steve and Johnny in eternity, while Johnny the boy recalls the time he met a man who showed him a more gentle, kind and consistent way of being strong. There in the light, they laugh with joy about how, at some point, Johnny the boy decided to become that type of man.