18 September 2023

The Last of the Greatest Generation!

Yeah, this is a very long post but the project is finally completed! The historical and personal value of this project and the people involved are priceless to Amy and I. To say it was an honor to be able to serve this family would be an understatement.

Of course, I'm talking about painting the cabin of Corporal John Kinsel  Sr., one of the last two Navajo Code Talkers that is still living. Corporal Kinsel served as a Code Talker in the Pacific Theater with the 3rd Marine Division in WW II from 1942 to 1945.

He built this cabin himself in 1950, after he came home from the war. He personally brought the logs down from the mountains behind his property by horse and wagon. He is now 106 years old and has lived in this for almost 74 years. 

I first met him and his son in 2020 completely by accident, but we had a nice visit, and I was invited back. The second time I went, I took my wife, Amy, with me, and I almost lost her. She absolutely fell in love with Kinsels, and I think the feeling was mutual. We talked with them for hours! We stayed much longer than I had intended, but it was SO much fun and interesting beyond description. 

I promised the Kinsels that I would come back and paint their cabin as soon as I could but, with Covid, bad weather, moving and so many other things going on, it has taken awhile but we finally got back up there to do it!

This latest visit was a particularly good trip because "hastiin sání" was feeling well and spent some time talking with us about his WW II experiences. He's a little hard to understand, but his English is good, and he still has his signature sense of humor that he was so well known for. He looked up at me from his wheelchair and said, "When are you going to stop growing?"
We went back a couple of months ago to begin fulfilling my promise. We pressure washed the entire cabin and painted the addition, which is the kitchen, that was added in 1975. Then, we went back this last weekend, caulked the deep cracks in the logs, and painted the reminder of the building.
Hastiin sání was feeling well enough to go out and admire the renewed life we gave his beloved cabin. I believe he and his son, Ron,  were quite happy with the way it turned out, and again, Amy and I were beyond honored to have had the privilege to provide this tiny act of service for this family. 
NOTE: I want to give a shout-out and special thanks to the two people who donated and helped make this project a little easier for us. I didn't get permission to use your names in this, but you know who you are.
Tʼáá íiyisíí ahéheeʼ!

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