Scars-Tattoos with a Better Story

IMG_9584 An article in the Calgary Sun caught my eye yesterday, “Rising out of the Fire/Man rises above horrifying crime” (Calgary Sun March 2, 2014 article by Nadia Moharib) After a few lines, the story sounded vaguely familiar, and then it became evident why: this crime happened in a small Mennonite community thirty miles from my Manitoba home town in October, 1990. The event shocked with its brutality. Yesterday was a follow up story on Tyler Pelke, who had been assaulted, had his throat slashed, set on fire, and left for dead. Pelke survived, Curtis Klassen, his friend and fellow hockey player did not. Earl Giesbrecht (17 at the time) was sentenced to life in prison for this crime. Because of the proximity and cultural background, I followed that story as it went though the court system, but eventually filed it on a back shelf. My life continued on, but Tyler’s was altered forever. Yesterday’s article told the tale of this young man’s long road to recovery, starting with a description of the fire-boiled scars that cover his chest while a thick one crosses his throat, daily reminders of what happened more than two decades ago. The scars exist,quotes-girl-cute-love-text-Favim.com-666887_large visible and invisible, but he refuses to be defined by them. Pelke, now an assistant deputy chief with the Calgary Fire Department was quoted re his scars: “It’s a reminder of what I have overcome—I’ve been through fire, some days it’s a reminder to be thankful. Some days I don’t even see them.” And Pelke has chosen not to let his scars or what happened to haunt him, but he strives to be the best person he can be, and he shares his story with various groups in the hopes that he can encourage others to reach their full potential, and overcome the obstacles they face. For me, it was inspirational to read Tyler’s further story, to hear in a nutshell what will have taken him years to process and heal from.
Elbert Hubbard said “God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars.”
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One thought on “Scars-Tattoos with a Better Story

  1. What a remarkable man (and to be a firefighter too). I’m reminded of another quote by Fr. Craig Scott: “From every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story. A story that says I survived.” Pelke did far more than survive, he is a true inspiration. Thank you for sharing this story. It was just what I needed to read this morning to start my day off.

    Like

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