Moving Mountains

Moving Mountains When Shawn Plafker, McMinnville principal, first started reading the book More Than Mountains: The Todd Huston Story to her sixth through eighth grade students, little did she know that she would one day get to meet Huston in person. Not only did she get to meet him, but many students from Adventist schools in Oregon were able to meet him as well. Plafker thought it would be inspirational to hear Huston’s story in person. She decided to invite him to give a talk to her students. But Plafker wanted as many people as possible to be able to hear his story, so she invited all of the Adventist schools in the area as well. Plafker says, “I have been reading his book to my students for about five years, and decided one day to see if we could get him as a guest speaker. I didn't think it possible, but made the call anyway." Huston first spoke a group at Portland Adventist Academy, which included students from Columbia Adventist Academy, Hood River Junior Academy and Riverside Adventist Christian School. He also met with students from McMinnville Adventist Christian School, Laurelwood Adventist Elementary, Central Valley, Tualatin Valley Junior Academy, and West Valley. Altogether, 550 students were able to hear his story on that day. His story is one of tragedy and inspiration. When Huston was only 14, his legs were mangled by the propellers of a boat. Even though he faced many surgeries and struggled to keep his legs, he still had to have his right leg amputated. Huston grew up to become a psychotherapist and a coach for other people with disabilities. This tale becomes motivating when Huston shares that he competed in an event called Summit America, which requires climbers to reach the summits of the highest elevations from all 50 states as fast as possible. The former record was 101 days. Huston set a new record when he finished the expedition in 66 days, 22 hours, and 47 minutes. Sharing this tale with Plafker’s students was a highlight for the McMinnville Adventist Christian School. Students crowded around him asking questions and touching his artificial leg. Huston even showed pictures from the all summits he had climbed. Some students enjoyed seeing the pictures and the leg, and others liked meeting the person behind the story. As Kate Mayne, a seventh-grader, says, “I loved his book, but it was a lot more fun having him there and telling about it than just reading about his journeys and struggles, physically and spiritually. It was nice to be able to ask him questions that I had had while reading his book.” Huston’s story helped put life in perspective. It helped the students to see that no matter what, every goal is worth fighting for. His tale inspired the students to have dreams and to pursue those dreams. Not only did Huston climb to the highest elevations of America, but he was able to move mountains inside the hearts and minds of some of God’s little children.

Moving Mountains

When Shawn Plafker, McMinnville principal, first started reading the book More Than Mountains: The Todd Huston Story to her sixth through eighth grade students, little did she know that she would one day get to meet Huston in person. Not only did she get to meet him, but many students from Adventist schools in Oregon were able to meet him as well.

Plafker thought it would be inspirational to hear Huston’s story in person. She decided to invite him to give a talk to her students. But Plafker wanted as many people as possible to be able to hear his story, so she invited all of the Adventist schools in the area as well. Plafker says, “I have been reading his book to my students for about five years, and decided one day to see if we could get him as a guest speaker. I didn't think it possible, but made the call anyway."

Huston first spoke a group at Portland Adventist Academy, which included students from Columbia Adventist Academy, Hood River Junior Academy and Riverside Adventist Christian School. He also met with students from McMinnville Adventist Christian School, Laurelwood Adventist Elementary, Central Valley, Tualatin Valley Junior Academy, and West Valley. Altogether, 550 students were able to hear his story on that day.

His story is one of tragedy and inspiration. When Huston was only 14, his legs were mangled by the propellers of a boat. Even though he faced many surgeries and struggled to keep his legs, he still had to have his right leg amputated. Huston grew up to become a psychotherapist and a coach for other people with disabilities.

This tale becomes motivating when Huston shares that he competed in an event called Summit America, which requires climbers to reach the summits of the highest elevations from all 50 states as fast as possible. The former record was 101 days. Huston set a new record when he finished the expedition in 66 days, 22 hours, and 47 minutes.

Sharing this tale with Plafker’s students was a highlight for the McMinnville Adventist Christian School. Students crowded around him asking questions and touching his artificial leg. Huston even showed pictures from the all summits he had climbed.

Some students enjoyed seeing the pictures and the leg, and others liked meeting the person behind the story. As Kate Mayne, a seventh-grader, says, “I loved his book, but it was a lot more fun having him there and telling about it than just reading about his journeys and struggles, physically and spiritually. It was nice to be able to ask him questions that I had had while reading his book.”

Huston’s story helped put life in perspective. It helped the students to see that no matter what, every goal is worth fighting for. His tale inspired the students to have dreams and to pursue those dreams. Not only did Huston climb to the highest elevations of America, but he was able to move mountains inside the hearts and minds of some of God’s little children.

August 01, 2006 / Oregon Conference
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