I meet a lot of great people on my travels across Kansas. Few do I respect and admire more than Bob and Christine Ardnt, of Americus. In Dec. 2007 their 18-year-old son, Beau, had just finished his first semester of college and was being taken on a goose hunt as an early birthday present.
As he hid amid the decoys a truck on the road stopped, poked a high-powered rifle barrel out the window and shot at what Thomas Kent thought were real geese. Beau was killed and Kent eventually served about two years in prison.
Through the entire investigation and court proceedings, Bob and Christine took the high road. Their oldest child had been killed in a senseless act by someone who had to know they were breaking the law and the Arndts, remained steadfast.
I’m going to tell you right now, I don’t have the character to hold-up so well. I, like most of the people I’ve talked with, would have been bitter the rest of my life and probably never recovered from such a tragic, senseless loss.
Lately they’ve had to go through some of it all over again with the news that David Kent, Thomas’ brother, is charged with poaching a world-class whitetail buck in Osage County. Charges say he broke about every law imaginable when it comes to deer hunting. David Kent, by the way, was in the truck and watched Thomas Kent shoot the bullet that ended Beau Arndt’s life.
Yet the Arndt’s are continually striving to make positives from such a profoundly negative experience. Their Beau Arndt Foundation is working towards getting hundreds of area kids exposed to the outdoors.
I pray I never have to live through an ordeal like they have weathered. If so, I pray I could do it even with half as much composure.