Chief Ranger Dave

Chief Ranger Dave (aka Mr. Fagerlund) went home to be with the Lord on October 15, 2014. From his published obituary:

Dave was a carpenter for the New York City Fire Department for 18 years. He was a member of the Northern Valley Evangelical Free Church in Cresskill where he served the church as a Deacon, Trustee and small group leader. Dave also ministered with the Christian Service Brigade for 40 years. Dave was a volunteer at Camp Cedarbrook in the Adirondacks for 19 years.

There is so much more that ought to be said about Dave — a warm, caring and always upbeat fellow who loved serving others.  A sharp wit – quick with a joke to break the ice and a man who loved the Lord deeply.

When our CSB Stockade team realized that we’d need to break the news to the youth members of our stockade, we discussed ways to keep this communication positive and joyful as we think Dave would have wanted.  The narrative that follows is how we discussed this with the boys.

As you know, Chief Ranger Dave became very ill and had to go to the hospital.  While we all worked on making “get well” cards for him two meetings ago, Ranger Dave died.  We will miss him a lot, but as Christians we believe that he is now in heaven with God and that’s the best place for him – in fact, we also believe that that’s really where we are supposed to be.  To a Christian, going to heaven is, in fact, going home from a strange place called Earth.  I am very sure Dave is very happy to be with God right now.

I’m also sure that Dave would have liked to have said goodbye personally if he had that chance.  He wasn’t well enough to write you a letter to say goodbye, but I think his family and the other rangers knew him so well that we could easily guess some of the things he would say if he had written a goodbye letter before going home to heaven.

It might have been something like this:

I have had a very happy life and I want each one of you to have a happy life too. One of my most favorite songs is called “It is Well with My Soul”  That song teaches us to remember that even when things go wrong or times are sad, we know with complete certainty that God is in control, He wants what is best for us and our families and that we can trust Him one-hundred percent. 

One of my most favorite sayings is “Only one life, t’will soon be past–Only what’s done for Christ will last.”  As much as I want each of you to live a happy life, trusting that God loves you and wants the best for you, I also believe that God wants us to learn how to help each other and then actually make it happen. 

You see, I learned that happiness doesn’t come from being rich, nor merely from being successful in whatever job you do, nor by doing things that please you like eating ice cream at every meal.  The real key to happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are still a boy, so that you can be useful to God by serving other people long throughout your life.

Always remember why you should obey your mom and dad.  Do you remember? It’s because they LOVE you!

Remember our motto “BRIGHT AND KEEN FOR CHRIST” – think about what this really means to you.  If you’re not sure, talk to the rangers and your parents to understand it better.  It has a lot of meaning, but the simplest is this – learn about God, do what He tells you, do it humbly and happily.  Be cheerful, encourage other people when they’re sad, pray for them, too!

Try and leave this world a little better than you found it by making lots of friends and sharing with them why it is important to be “BRIGHT AND KEEN FOR CHRIST”  If you do this, then someday far in the future, you can look back on your life and know you made a difference in other people’s lives.

So I’ll say it one last time.  Stick to your “BRIGHT AND KEEN FOR CHRIST” promise always – even after you have ceased to be a boy – and God will help you to do it.

Chief Ranger Dave

P.S.  What is green and fuzzy and flies around in circles?  “Super Pickle”

So we’ll all miss Ranger Dave, but I think he would have wanted us to continue on with our program – to learn more about teamwork, being bright and keen for Christ and to always keep a “positive mental attitude” (Boy, am I enthusiastic!).  He knew how much fun you all have each Monday night and we should honor Ranger Dave by always doing our best to serve other people — just like he did.

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