As a young man in Kansas, I worked on a farm during the summer between graduating high school and starting college. The family I worked for, Dwight and Nora Sauer, had a lasting impact on my life and the lives of many others.
Dwight can be best described as very competitive. A college football player in his younger days, it didn’t matter if you were playing basketball in the barn, table games in the house, or loading the trucks with bales of hay. He wanted to best you, not because he was trying to put anyone down or embarrass them, but because he just really liked to win! He was also one of the hardest working people I’ve ever been around. He led with high expectations and by example, and he left a big impression on my life after just one summer of working together.
Years later, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, I met a man named Bill Johnson. As it turned out, Bill had also spent a summer working for Dwight and Nora! In the spring of 2016, Bill and I decided to visit our old friends. Bill had made the arrangements and we decided to surprise them with me tagging along. So, early one Saturday, we drove to Kansas to have lunch with them in their home.
Bill, Nora, Dwight, and Kent
During the visit, it became clear that Dwight’s life and legacy to those he had employed on the farm could be summed up in one phrase – “just one more.” You see, Dwight never got tired, at least as far as we could tell! It didn’t matter how long we’d been hauling hay, cutting wheat, or playing basketball in the evening after the work was done. He was always up for “just one more.” If we were in the house playing a table game, he was always good for “just one more.”
To this day, I’m inspired by Dwight and his legacy. He challenges me to do “just one more.” When I’m tired or feel like there just isn’t anything left, I sometimes think of Dwight Sauer and that summer on the farm.
In what we do, Dwight’s legacy is perhaps even more meaningful. Whatever your mission is, are you good for “just one more?” You work hard. You get tired and occasionally discouraged. But perhaps you can find inspiration in Dwight’s legacy and in the people you serve. You can’t help them all, but maybe you could help “just one more.”
I’m thankful for Dwight and Nora and the inspiration they continue to be to me, years later.