An early, miserable excursion helped shape instructor Hardy
Mar 14 2013
By Hannah Ullom
The last year of high school, with the world opening up in the front windshield, senior projects, and the future just around the corner, Tim Hardy’s rather remarkable story began.
Hardy, a graphic design instructor at Rogue Community College, decided for his senor project at South Medford High School that he would survive in the wilderness for a week with the bare essentials. And to make it a bit more challenging, he would maintain his weight.
So he spent the year reading and planning. When it was time to attempt it, his mentor drove him to the edge of the woods and dropped him off.
“I had the clothes I was wearing, a lighter, a pocket knife, and my Bible,” Hardy says.
His mentor gave him one piece of advice: find food first. Like any true teen, Hardy started working on his shelter first, naturally a teepee.
That didn’t work out so well, so he manufactured a better shelter in a ditch, and after a rather meager supper—he really should have listened to his mentor—he crawled in for the night.
Things didn’t go well from there. His latest shelter was at the end of a ditch, where it sloped back up to ground level. Over this, he had laid branches and packed dirt. His fire was directly in front of the entrance in the ditch. To stay warm, he left the fire he had lit earlier burning.
After he had been sleeping for a while, he suddenly woke up to discover how warm he was. He was downright hot. He looked out of his entrance to see a wall of flames; the wind had pushed his fire directly into his only entrance, and more importantly, his only exit.
He started praying.
He had built his shelter too well this time. He couldn’t break out through the branches and dirt that served as his roof. As it grew hotter, he took the only way out—through the flames. He jumped through the fire, melting his shoes, but escaped without being badly burned.
This was the start of a miserable week. He had hardly a single meal—he lived on whatever plants he thought looked edible. His feet were blistered by his melted twisted shoes, and his tongue was blistered by some of the more acidic roots he tried to eat.
He spent much of the week trying to catch a turtle that seemed to be mysteriously shrewd in the ways of human trapping. He spent the rest lying about exhausted for lack of food. Oddly enough he hardly lost any weight. He says
“I survived,” he says, “Barely.”
Hardy looks back on that week as one in which he learned about life and decided to live it following what he believes God calls him to do.
Not surprisingly, Hardy’s life has not turned out like he imagined it would during his senior year, but he has approached it with a sense of humor and with ears open wide for God’s calling.
He now has been teaching at RCC for “six-ish” years. He says he loves helping student prepare for the future. Grading, on the other hand, is hardly his favorite thing way of spending time.
One of the things, he says, that makes him unique as a teacher at RCC is his faith, which is a very central part of his life. Hardy is upfront about his faith; at the beginning of each class, he tells his students that he is a Christian.
His beliefs, he says, help him care genuinely about his students.
Though he is passionate about his job, he may not be teaching at RCC much longer. He is still following what he believes is God’s call. He and his family plan to leave for Cyprus in August to serve with Campus Crusade for Christ.
Wherever life takes him, he will never forget that wilderness trip and the lessons he learned from it.
Hannah Ullom is a student in J225-Introduction to Journalism.
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