Randy Schmidt (Justice is Blind)
Some of our deepest and most personal emotions are felt by all of us at some point during our lives. I am sure there has been a time when you have felt lonely or questioned whether you have made a positive impact on the lives around you. You probably have wondered if what you are doing with your life is purposeful and meaningful. STAR WINAR is a symbol of our deepest and most personal emotions, while our mission statement is simple; “Dream, Create, Inspire,” is powerful. When you apply these three terms to your life the results make for a different story in each of our lives. We all start with the same words but the results create a unique story for everyone. Randy Schmidt is a man who inspires. It’s hard to explain his inspiration, but easy to experience it when you read the chapters of his story. Randy’s story is one we all can relate with. This story is about a man who suffers from blindness, but still sees opportunity to inspire the ones around him.
It was the 1960’s on Cherry Avenue in Northern California, a young boy named Randy Schmidt played with his friends. They played all the normal games kids played, and laughed at all the same jokes. They were ordinary boys growing up in an everyday town. It was on one of those sun shiny california day’s when Randy’s life changed when he saw a young boy get hit by a car. Not knowing the boy but moved by what he saw Randy visited the boys family and soon their visits grew into a meaningful relationship. Coincidentally, the boy who was hit by the car was also named Randy, and they soon became known around the neighborhood as Big Randy and Little Randy. Little Randy was not allowed to play baseball with the other boys because he never fully recovered from the accident. Big Randy decided he wanted to make Little Randy ready to play with the others. He would take him to the local baseball field and they would play catch together. Big Randy became more than a friend; he became an enabler. It was because of Big Randy’s help, Little Randy’s, confidence and ability grew so that he could play in the baseball game.
As Big Randy grew up a normal kid in the neighborhood he remembers the school that sat next to his. He can remember seeing at recess the other school with a boarded fence around its playground. He always wondered why those kids weren’t playing with them or if they were being hid from the rest of kids. He always wondered why those kids went to a different school and being told that those kids were just a little different. When Randy reflects on his life his perspective has changed and if he could go back in time he would invite those kids to play with the rest of his classmate because that is exactly what he has been doing his whole life with or with out sight. Now with both perspective’s it is his dream to create a place where both playgrounds can inspire each other.
Big Randy turned to the next chapter of his story and decided to join the United States Marine Corps. Proud to serve his nation, he went off to war in Vietnam. He met his best friend, Danny Gallagher, and would learn the greatest lesson of his life from him. Danny saved Randy from a collapsed bunker, healed him from a rat bite, and saved his life in the middle of a fire fight. During that fire fight Randy was struck by a bullet in the head. That injury would eventually leave him blind. Danny gave his life in Vietnam and will always be inspired by Danny’s bravery and selflessness and will carry the greatest lesson of his life, “No greater love hath a man, than to lay down his life for a friend.”(John 15:13)
As time progressed Randy lost all of his sight, but where others would have given up he succeeded becoming an appointed County Judge serving juveniles. He couldn’t see what people were wearing, but he could hear what they said and listen to their stories as the facts were presented. He also inspired others by playing softball and touch football leagues as a completely blind man. He became Commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Commandant of the local Marine Corps League, and still marches in the color guard.
Although grown, he is still the same Big Randy who grew up on Cherry Avenue. A man who believes that your personality is molded over time by your choices. A man who helps others find away around their obstacles. A man that does not believe in fences. And most importantly a man that inspires Little Randy’s like you and me.