I’d like to ask Stuart Nates to come forward.
Stuart joined us in 2008 along with his father, who became our treasurer.
Here is how he described Stuart to me before we first met: “He doesn’t talk a
lot at first, so no worries about that. He plays string bass in
orchestra and also bass guitar. Loves Guitar Hero, as most do these
days, has been whitewater rafting, some hiking on the AT, likes to shoot
rifles with a mutual friends family.”
One of the things Jeff didn’t say in that email was that Stuart was a Boy Scout working on his Eagle. He also was rather big and muscular, to the point that some of the girls nicknamed him “Man-beast.” This did not mean they were afraid of him. Far from it. Stuart has enjoyed an active social life while with the crew.
His brawn led him to play football at Irmo High. I once tried playfully to tackle him on a campout. I might as well have tried wrapping my arms around a moving truck.
He has held a series of leadership posts with the crew, starting with health and safety officer, then secretary both of the Venturing Officers Association and the crew.
He earned his Eagle rank while with the crew and our crew turned out in force to help him with his service project, building benches and painting sheds for a DNR shooting range.
Stuart’s service to others is not limited to the crew. In addition to his volunteer work for the Homeworks program, a housing rehab ministry, he also spents a week or more each year at Salkehatchie, a Methodist version of Homework’s. His specialty of all things is roofing. He actually gave up going to Philmont one year because he wanted to go to Salkehatchie instead.
One of the things I love – and dread – about Stuart is his smile. His sister has the same smile. It usually means he’s up to something and I’m willing to bet this mischievous look doesn’t come from his mom.
There was that time that lots of shoes suddenly disappeared overnight on one of our campouts. Or the time that tent poles became mysteriously unattached on a certain tent on another outing.
Stuart also used to be famous in the crew for his sleeping. Not sleeping per se but waking up, or put more precisely, not waking up. Stuart took some pride in being the last one to get up on outings and crew members over time tried every technique they can think of, from pulling on his sleeping bag to banging pots without success. So when the same problem occurred while we were caving, Tyler, who calls Stuart “Stuey,” decided to wet a finger and stick it in his ear. I have to say for his size, I was impressed by Stuart’s speed in leaping to his feet out of his sleeping bag and running down poor Tyler. Reminded me of a lion running down a Gisele.
When it came time to name Stuart, it wasn’t terribly hard. In fact, next to Mark’s name Stuart’s was the easiest. There was only one name that could encompass his strength, physique, willingness to give his all and to stand as an impressive leadership figure. So it is my honor Stuart, to award you the Lakota name “Tatonka” which means bull buffalo.