He was raised in an orphanage from the age of three, confused and rejected. Lonely. But God placed a few key people in his life who made a difference. Bob was one of them.
The following is an excerpt from the book, Castaway Kid: One Man's Search for Hope and Home, by R.B. Mitchell:
"Bob was a caseworker, substitute houseparent, conservationist, master bowman, and hunter. Sporting buzz-cut hair, he was lean like an army Ranger.
Though I wasn’t one of his counseling clients, he went out of his way for me. When I was in high school, Bob taught me how to load and aim a rife. He took me hunting for rabbit, squirrel, and deer, then showed me how to skin, clean, and prepare the meat.
He also demonstrated how to tell time and position from the sun, move quietly through the woods, and find my direction without a compass. I learned to spend many peaceful hours in the fields and woods, the quiet and outdoor smells feeding my soul.
The greatest lesson Bob taught me, though, came when he took three of us teenage boys elk hunting near Iron River in northern Michigan.
We’d searched for days without seeing a single elk. Early in the morning on the last day of our trip, we were walking a dirt logging trail through dense forest. Suddenly Bob turned left, raised his bow, and froze.
A huge bull elk with a magnificent set of antlers stood in a clearing. I was so excited I could hardly breathe.
Bulls usually travel alone, but two cows and several calves were with this one. We knew that if he bolted, he might make it into the woods safely, but the cows and calves would be fair game.
The bull stood his ground, slowly raising he elegant head and staring as if to say, “You’ll have to shoot me first and give my cows and calves a chance to get away.”
We boys had our guns aimed at the cows, safeties off. For what seemed like an eternity, we waited for Bob. He’d made it clear that we were to shoot only after he let his first arrow fly.
But nothing happened. What is he waiting for? I thought.
At last he slowly relaxed the bowstring and lowered the bow. Confused, we clicked on our safeties and lowered our rifles. The bull signaled with his tail; the cows and calves bolted into the woods. Finally the majestic animal himself turned and walked away.
Bob never said a word as he walked past us and headed down the long trail to the car. Later, when we stopped for a drink and a snack, he finally gave an explanation.
“Boys, we came to hunt elk,” he said.
“We reached our goal,” he continued. “We found that elk. In fact, we found a trophy buck. Whether or not that buck’s head is hanging on a wall somewhere makes no difference. We will always know if we had fired, we had him dead to rights.”
He paused, then added a phrase I’d heard him say before: “We don’t have to shoot them all.”
After letting us digest that, he added, “That buck’s incredible courage and selfless attitude saved him. He could have bolted and probably saved his own life. Instead he chose to remain as the prime target so the others could survive.”
“Can you believe it?” one of the guys exclaimed. “That was the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.”
“It was an excellent example of the biblical message, ‘No greater love has a man than he lay down his life for a friend,’” Bob concluded. Then he picked up his bow and started down the trail again.
We went home without a trophy, but with the memory that would stick with us forever."
I never met a girl who didn't want her daddy to protect her... just like that bull elk; I've never met a boy who didn't long for a daddy to teach him how to protect... just like God.