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A Rare, Noble Man

As soon as it beeped, I reached for the phone beside me and as I lifted it, I saw the number was an unfamiliar one. A text message read:


This is Dave Estey. The man that was driving the truck. I have read the book and want you to know how sorry I am. This is my contact number if anyone would ever need to speak to me further. With the deepest regret. God bless. Dave

I did not know anyone named Dave Estey, but as soon as I read his message, I knew that indeed, I did know him. He was the driver of the truck that twenty-five years ago had struck my husband as he stood beside a disabled car, leaving him so critically injured that he spent five months in St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, CA.

Some of you will know that several years ago I wrote a book entitled A Thousand Pieces in which I told the story of Jerry’s death in the street, the lady who revived him, his almost unbelievably severe injuries, and his remarkable recovery. I also told that the driver of the truck who hit Jerry was driving with a suspended license, had no insurance, no assets, was drunk, and was high on methamphetamines.


A Thousand Pieces has been an inspiration to scores of people, and is now in its fourth printing. Among other places, it is available at Amazon.

So, as I looked at my phone on January 17, 2019, I came to the reckoning that Dave Estey was that driver.

“Jerry,” I called across the room. “Listen to this text I just received.”

The details are too many to include here, but know this: Jerry and I during the past two days have come to know that Dave Estey is a rare man, one of meekness and goodness; of sweetness and of love. He has fought demons most of his life and is a deeply wounded man. But now, in his early fifties, he has come to himself,  is analyzing his life, and is making restitution. He is humble, remorseful, and truly repentant. Two days ago, he sat by Jerry in a restaurant, looked him square in the face, and, prefaced by several long sentences, said, “I am sorry.”

And my husband . . .in his sweet, slow way, put his hand atop Dave’s, and said, “I forgave you twenty-five years ago.” The sweet presence of God hovered about us, and we all, I believe, wept.

As I said earlier, the whole story is too long to tell here, but you should know this. Sometime back, Dave began searching for Jerry Buxton, and as he did, he came across this blog, learned through it of A Thousand Pieces, and ordered a copy from Amazon. He then made the contact to which I have referred, and made other contacts, which resulted in our meeting together. He lives 450 miles away from us. Last Tuesday he drove down to our area, and along with his wife, and two of our friends, Patrick and Holly Garrett, Jerry and I met him at the Claim Jumper in San Bernardino.

I have essentially finished writing a book called Dream Shards and was working on some drafting of it when the first text from Dave came. The gist of the new book is that each of us has dreams and at one time or another they all shatter. The issue then is what we do about it? Do we wallow around in the ashes, the shards, or do we pick up the pieces and fashion a new piece? A new dream? The coexistence and interaction of Jerry’s story and Dave’s story must be a part of that book. So even though I was through writing it, I am adding another chapter. Dave and I will be communicating by phone and email and the rest of his story will be told in that book.

In the meantime, I submit to you that Dave Estey is a rare and courageous man, and despite his sordid history, he is a good man. We are still shaken about this meeting, and believe it involves more than can be seen or understood. No doubt it is of the spiritual realm, and is directed by God. Both Jerry and I believe Dave has caught a vision of righteousness and godliness, and we will continue to do all we can to lead him to a full biblical experience with God. Please pray for all of us.


The Burden and the Nobility of Leadership

From the saga of those recently trapped in the San Jose gold and copper mine come multiple and exceptional stories that speak, in part, to honor, humor, celebration, courage, embarrassment, and of hope. Luis Urzua, the last man rescued, speaks profoundly to the essentiality and to the nobility of leadership. Although there was no way for the miners to know at the time that they were trapped nearly a half mile underground by 700,000 tons of rock, the initial survey  of their situation revealed their straits to be dire. Mr. Urzua, 54 years old, the superintendent at the time of the disaster, took complete charge of the emergency situation, and using his intellect, his instincts, and his leadership talents grouped the men for survival. (Photo from Reuters)

Under Mr Urzua’s leadership, the men stretched an emergency food supply meant to last just 48 hours to over two and a half weeks, taking tiny sips of milk and bites of tuna every other day. He urged sparing use of the miner’s helmet lamps and of the vehicles because of the likelihood of contaminating the air. They spent most of their first seventeen days in darkness. Early on they fired up a bulldozer to carve into a natural water source. He divided the men into three groups according to their physical conditions. He laid out exercise programs and areas. He designated a place to be used as a bathroom.

When after seventeen days, contact was made with the outside world, Mr. Urzua was the first to speak to the President of Chile. He urged President Pinera not to let the trapped miners down. “Don’t leave us alone,” he implored.

Mr Marquez, who had previously worked with Mr. Urzua, described him as a “calm, professional person” and as a born leader. “It is in his nature,” he continued. “It is his gift.”

Are you gifted with leadership abilities? Do you often find yourself facing leadership opportunities? Do others look to you for direction, for solution to problems, for ideas, for nurturing, for emotional and other support? Are you a leader? It’s a wonderful thing to be blessed with leadership qualities; yet an awesome, sometimes frightening responsibility. In one way or another, most of us are leaders, at least for some portion of our lives. Parents are leaders. Turn your head and look at those little ones trailing you. What a tremendous opportunity is there, yet what eternal obligation. Pastors are leaders. Look at those who congregate in the pews on Sunday morning. People look to you for spiritual guidance, for direction, to hear the voice of God. Extraordinary responsibility. Government officials are leaders. You have a moral charge to lead your constituents honestly and bravely.

Noble? Burdensome? Yes. The cost of true leadership is great. The rewards are sterling.

Every trapped miner had been rescued. Long-standing world records had been broken. Leadership and co-operation had prevailed. Luis Urzua and President Pinera stand together, helmets on their chests and join in singing the national anthem of the country of Chile.

(Getty Image)