Today I received word that my dear friend Ron Hood has crossed the rainbow bridge to the other side. He is survived by his beautiful wife Karen and their son Jessie. Karen and Jess I love you both and I grieve with you. Ron was my mentor and very dear to me and my family.
When I first met Ron it obvious that we were kindred souls, we chatted around the crowd for a while then went back to his camper and discussed some finer points of survival and survival instruction. Karen served us a beer and we began building slings to chuck rocks into the woods. It was starting to seem like this guy was not the pompous ass that I expected him to be. To the contrary, he was just a regular dude that just happened to carry the passion for the woods and for the art of survival that I have never seen in anyone. I had it, but I just thought that I was weird. After that meeting we became friends and spoke occasionally about this and that. In time we became great friends although we spoke often we didn't get together too much. It seemed that the Marine Corps always had some last minute shit that kept me from going to the gatherings and meets. We have spent some time out on the mountain together away from the crowds at the big survival meets and that is where our bond was cemented. We have shared a few meals from venison at my table, greasy burgers in a Hollywood restaurant, to the last bits of rabbit and coffee on the mountain.
Ron had the ability to guide you in the right direction, so you made the decisions that worked, unlike just giving you the answer he gave you ownership of the solution. That is a rare talent in an instructor and he had it down to a science. I knew that if I called him for advise on life or survival issues, I could always trust his advise. His process was the same logical process that I use to make decisions, when I was so emotionally invested in an issue that logic could not be relied upon, that is when I called him. I always knew that his advise would follow the same pattern that I would normally follow if I didn't have the distraction. I can say this about no other man in the world. He has lived a full life of adventure, love, hardship and loss, and he was always willing to share those trials with me to help get me through my own tough times. Ron never hid his faults, he displayed them like badges of honor to prove that he learned the hard way. He was a man like any other but he had a charisma like none other. That charisma is what made him a leader in the survival community and a driving force behind more than you will ever know.
I was in receipt of orders and recently moved to Mississippi so we have not talked in a while. He was busy with his business and I with mine. I guess that I thought we will catch up when our shit slows down. In that I have lost the final opportunity to speak with a most trusted friend. For this, Ron I am sorry, I would have liked been able to chat with you one last time about the state of the world and other petty shit that we have no control over. I would have loved to spend one more night under the stars eating burned goat and drinking coffee from a rusty soup can. I would give anything to see you walk back into camp again holding your own turd in your hand and say everybody check this out! They were good times brother but I guess no matter what we could have always used one more.
Recon the route well brother, we will be soon to follow and I am sure that you will again walk us down the right path.
I love you brother,