We Do It for 'the Kids'
Vernon Osborn is gone again. Sometimes it’s for a few weeks. Other times it is for several months. This time it is to Mississippi and then to Israel. Don’t worry, though. The 40-member Anchorage Pathfinder Club will go on as planned under the direction of Mary Osborn, Vernon’s wife.
You see, Vernon is a member of the Alaska Air National Guard and has been deployed at least three times in the past four years. Mary explains that this is nothing unusual. As a military family, they have become used to continuing on while Master Sergeant Vernon Osborn is off to faraway places doing his part to support troops.
Mary admits that while Vernon has carefully worked and planned with Mary for these absences, it would not be possible without the dedicated volunteer staff that have consistently stepped up to fill in the gaps left during his temporary absences.
Last Wednesday night I caught up with Mary at her hairdresser’s shop. She had brought a small group of lady Pathfinders to work on the Hairdressing honor. When I knocked on the glass door, it was obvious by what I could see that she and the young ladies were having fun conversation while learning some hairstyling techniques.
That safe friendliness is what the Osborns have made a priority since they began their Pathfinder ministry almost eight years ago. What began as an invitation by another family to help provide some Christian activities for their own kids has grown to as many as 50 club members even though their own kids are now away from home.
I asked Mary what sparked her passion for continuing to work with Pathfinders. She paused and then gave one of the Pathfinder’s names—a young man who calls every week for a ride to Pathfinders. She then said, “The kids. I love the kids.”
She went on to tell the story she read on the hall wall of the church school one day. Apparently the students had been given the assignment to write about someone in their lives who had had a strong, positive, Christian influence on them. Adam had written about his first contact with “Mr. and Mrs. O” and how they had been so nice to him and his family. “Just knowing that we were there for those kids and that they appreciated it moved me to tears,” says Mary.
Master Sergeant Osborn will return, and Pathfinders will continue as long as there are people who want it and willing to assist as staff. "We will continue as directors until there is someone else who wants to do it more than we do. At that point, they should be doing it," says Mary.