Southern Utah News Articles
Gordon Harris, local Kanab scholarship competitor for 2018 Grand to Grand Ultra
Gordon Harris had intended to save money this year in order to participate in the Grand to Grand Ultra in 2019 – the year he turns 50. However, Paul Grimm, a previous scholarship competitor (and now advisor and friend), suggested he apply for a scholarship this year. Colin and Tess Geddes were pleased to award Harris the scholarship. “He is positive and enthusiastic,” said Colin.
Harris says that in his “normal life” he is ”a husband, son, father, Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, meditator, ultra-race enthusiast and Sudoku fanatic.” He also loves quantum physics, numerology, reading (especially Lee Child books) …just a few of his wide swath of interests and practices, which he enjoys using to help himself and others.
His professional calling is working with RedCliff Ascent, a wilderness therapy program headquartered in Enterprise, Utah. Harris is well-suited for this role. His own life journey was characterized by dealing with cycles of addiction and treatment. He says he realizes that his Aspergers characteristics have been a factor in his struggle to deal with life’s challenges.
It wasn’t until his late 30s that he began to “get it.” Harris says he had spent most of his life “lost, with no idea what to do and no confidence in himself. He began going to a 12-step program, which he found had the process for recovery he needed. “I began to have faith in the universe and in following my heart. I learned the difference between fear-based and faith-based decisions. I began to ask, ‘What do I want to do with my life?’ ‘Who do I want to do it with?’”
Visualizing the outcomes he wanted, his life started to work, including meeting Karen, “my awesome wife,” whom he married in 2013.
Harris was always a hard worker. “I was just as much a workaholic as an alcoholic. Addiction is addiction,” he says. He was learning to frame and finish houses in the St. George area when someone suggested wilderness therapy might be a good fit. He decided to check out a wilderness experience. “It was an eight-day, unpaid job interview!” He loved it. He was offered a job and accepted it wholeheartedly, forgoing a promotion in the construction industry.
In his quest to help himself and others, he says he has found immense value “in the intersection of Western scientific methodology and Eastern contemplative practices. It is not easy to convince kids, who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and may not want to be in the wilderness program, to try meditation (something they REALLY don’t want to do!) as a way to help them figure out their lives.”
Harris is beginning to train for G2G on his days off. Running a dozen miles a day is no big deal. He routinely packs 50-60 pounds during his wilderness job. Despite a compressed disc in his lower back, he knows how to carry a backpack properly and is not worried about the 20 pounds he’ll carry for seven days on the 170-mile course. “The human body is made to go long distances,” he believes.
Many G2G participants use the event as an opportunity to raise funds for non-profit organizations. The charity Harris chose for his G2G fundraising is the Children’s Justice Center (CJC) in Kanab, a safe, comfortable, homelike and friendly place for children who are dealing with difficult and often frightening issues that surround abuse. Sandy Kerr, the G2G local coordinator, is the force behind the concept for this center in Kanab.
You can make a donation to the Children’s Justice Center through this link: https://www.facebook.com/kanecountycjc/. Click on “Donate Now” and you will be redirected to a website where you can specify that the donation is for the Kane County CJC. You can also donate to the CJC at our local Zions Bank.