Guest Column: Courage

Courage can be found across our region, our state, our nation and our world. Every day we see people – from children to senior citizens – act with courage. A few examples include people fighting a serious illness, educators, single parents, business leaders, disabled citizens, and those individuals who put their life on the line every day to help and serve others.

Each month The Current supports Partners Advancing Character Education (PACE) by publishing a guest column connected to one of PACE’s Character Traits. For the month of May, the PACE Character trait is Courage. Courage is displaying integrity in spite of obstacles and challenges.

One of my mentors and dear friend, Harry Amend, has lived and served in the Inland Northwest for most of his life. He grew up and then raised his family here. Those of us who have had the privilege of knowing Harry as a teacher, coach, baseball scout, counselor, administrator, superintendent, boss, friend and mentor have truly been impacted and influenced by him. We are all better people because of him. One of the many lessons I’ve learned from Harry is about “going to the roar.” This essentially means running toward a situation to help as best one is able. Many people lead and many people serve. Harry has stated people with courage, regardless of the situation or the circumstances, always “go to the roar.”

Emergency Medical Technicians, Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers, and those serving in the Military are excellent examples of people who “go to the roar.” These fine men and women have a call to duty, a surplus of courage, and are selfless. They have a desire to serve those around them, protect peoples’ and animals’ lives, are willing to put themselves in danger to protect others, and are always willing to lend a hand or help out. We are so fortunate that their courage helps so many of us.
In August 2016 the Yale Road Fire in Valleyford burned approximately 6,000 acres. People lost their homes and their animals. This tragedy impacted the entire Freeman Community. In June 2017 tragedy struck the Freeman community with the loss of Freeman HS Sophomore Justin Werner. On September 13, 2017, the Freeman Community – our students, staff and parents – had another tragedy. We lost another student, Freeman HS Sophomore Sam Strahan, and it has had a lasting impact for people on a local, regional, state and national level. In all of these situations, we saw many people “Go to the Roar” as they came to Freeman to help us out. As difficult it is to have a tragedy occur, the support to help us during these extremely difficult situations is a reminder that there are many people with courage who just wanted to help and serve us.

As we celebrate the PACE Awards Banquet this May, we are going to highlight many outstanding students and their inspirational educators. This is one of the best events of the school year and you will see many community members at this event celebrating our youth, their character, and their courage. We look forward to celebrating the good character of the students in our community!


Randy Russell has served as the Freeman Superintendent since 2011. Russell is a Montana native with degrees and certifications from Whitworth University and the University of Idaho. He has taught and served in administration roles at various schools in Spokane and Coeur d’alene. Russell also serves as a member of the PACE Board of Directors.