On the day Harry died, I was standing in a ticket line at the Carlton in Bloomington, MN, waiting to get my tickets to my first Harry Chapin concert. When I got to the window, the person there said, “I’m sorry, but we just got word that Harry died today”.

I couldn’t believe it. It was so sudden. As I drove home, it occurred to me how I expected him to be there for that future concert. The fragility of life hit home. For the first time, I really grasped that I don’t know how much time I’ve got.

I better get off my butt, and “do something” as Harry would say. I organized a hunger walk in our community of Annandale, MN – involving the schools, churches, anyone willing to walk. It went well and became an annual event for several years.

I went on from there and went on Lutheran World Relief Study Tours, coming back and telling the story to anyone who would listen. Now, I am a Lutheran Pastor, and hunger/poverty issues have been a focal point of my ministry.

In true Chapin spirit, I’ve pulled in others along the way to join the fight against hunger. It all started in that ticket line on July 16, 1981, when they told me “I’m sorry, but we just heard Harry died today”. Actually, he came alive in a new way!

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