About 24 years ago this last November, there was a young, dark-haired Deputy on the North Range on Saturday morning awaiting our 250 class School Drills and shoot-off. Col. Cooper was active in the class and Dennis Tueller was the Rangemaster.
I remember looking at the mountains and thinking: “This was one of the most amazing life experiences I have had and hate it is coming to an end. I’ll never get the opportunity to come back.”
Fate intervened and my Sheriff wanted to attend and I had the chance to return for my 499. This time, standing on the South Range with Bill Jeans as the RM and again thinking: “How fortunate to be able to return for the Gunsite experience again. But I’ll never be able to make it back.”
Sheriff Hudson again wanted to return for his 350 and asked if I wanted to go. Hard to believe it could happen one more time. This class led to my attendance at the last Provost (Instructor) Class Col. Cooper hosted along with the likes of Larry Landers, Mike Hughes, Bobby Schneider, and more great folks.
A couple of apprentice courses later I got my letter from Bill Jeans inviting me on staff. (I still have that letter.) Once again, I couldn’t believe that not only was I able to attend Gunsite several times, but also I was coming on staff.
Now, twenty plus (20+) years later, I again stand humbled by Gunsite. The opportunity to begin the work as Chief Operating Officer with the great men and women of Gunsite is difficult to put in words: Excitement, bewilderment, amazement, awe and so much more.
Gunsite is so much more than any one person or persons. It is almost a living, breathing entity. It is a life style that has, and will continue to, impact good people’s lives and help them stay alive. As you know, it is such a privilege to be a small part of.
Our thousands of clients over these 35+ years know what a life changing experience Gunsite is, and many know what a life-saving experience it is. For those of you who are Gunsite Family members, we hope to see you back soon. For those of you thinking about it, wait no longer. Come experience the Gunsite epiphany.
Shari and I believe in Gunsite, the Mission of Gunsite and our Republic’s way of life. We hope to live up to the standards that were put forth by Col. and Mrs. Cooper, Buz and Sonja Mills and all of the staff these 35+ years. We shall not let you down.
Again, I look forward to visiting with and working with all of you as we strive to keep good Americans and good people alive.
Let me close with one of my favorite lines from President Theodore Roosevelt: “We are face to face with our destiny and we must meet it with a high and resolute courage. For us is the life of action.”
Let us continue to move forward and do what we do best.
Thank you, God Bless you, God Bless Gunsite and God Bless the United States of America.
Humbly, and with great respect,
Ken and Shari
Chief Operating Officer
Gunsite Academy, Inc.
2900 West Gunsite Road
Paulden, AZ 86334
“Work hard, do your best, and keep your word. Never get too big for your
britches. Trust in God, have no fear, and never forget a friend.” Harry