I’d like to introduce you to a new friend of mine. His name is Al Hauck. He’s the gent in the photo, with my wife, Debbie. In most respects, Al’s life has been unremarkable. In another respect, his life is quite remarkable.
Debbie and I met Al two weeks ago while we were in Guatemala on an “awareness” trip organized by Unbound. Unbound provides assistance in a variety of ways—primarily education—to about 11,000 children and aging adults in a number of countries, most of them in Central and South America. We sponsor a 13-year old girl, Sandra, who lives in the southwest part of Guatemala. We had the opportunity to meet Sandra and her family for the first time and to visit three communities Unbound serves.
Al is 88 and, until just five years ago, was a long distance truck driver. He’s been all over the northern U.S. and northwest Canada hauling heavy equipment. That’s how he earned a living his entire life.
Al was married and had a son. Though Al didn’t talk much about it, it sounded like a tough marriage. Al’s wife drank a lot. Al once drank a lot too but decided years ago to stop. His wife was incredulous about the idea. His son was also a heavy drinker. Both Al’s wife and son—they all lived in the same house—were heavy smokers as well. I get the sense that being a long distance trucker had more to do with escape than love of the open road.
Drinking and smoking took their toll. Al’s wife and son died from cancer within a year of each other about 30 years ago. Back then, Al lived in Washington state. Sometime after his wife and son died, Al moved to northern Minnesota. That’s where the company he worked for at the time was located.
Al’s pretty much alone now. He has no family, and he’s outlived all his friends. which brings us to how we met. Being alone, Al decided to make the best use of his time and money by sponsoring children in developing countries through Unbound. “I got tired giving my money to the government. I’d rather give it to these kids.”
Al sponsors 14 children. Seven are in Guatemala, six are in Honduras, and one is in Mexico. He visits them all every year. He’s been doing this about 12 years now.
Al doesn’t do email (which means he has something in common with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who proudly told us last year, “I don’t do email.”), and he has a hard time reading anyway, so he keeps in touch with the progress of his children is by calling Unbound. He talks with Lilliana, one of the administrators at Unbound, just about every week for that reason.
Deb and I got to spend a week with Al. He’s a soft-spoken, smiling, easy going gentlemen. At the end of the week, we got on a plane and headed back to Ohio. Al got on a plane and went to Honduras to visit his other children.
My friend, Al—unassuming and remarkable.
Jack D’Aurora writes for considerthisbyjd.com
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