Hi I'm Darren
I'm a husband, father, dog lover, small business owner and nature lover. I'm blessed and happy, and I'm a Mormon.
I grew up in a Mormon family in Southern California with five brothers and sisters. I always loved being outdoors and it became my career later in life (more on that). I served a mission in Italy (the southern part) and loved it. I taught a lot of people about the Gospel, and in turn, they taught me a lot about their lives and their love of God and of each other. All in all, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I loved Italy so much I majored in Italian (and other stuff). My wife transplanted me from California to Wisconsin in 1984. It wasn't that hard. For someone who loves water, it made sense to move from the desert to a state with 14,000 miles of rivers and streams. I have two kids, both on missions. My daughter is serving in the Italy Milan Mission and my son is serving in the Idaho Pocatello Mission. They are not only my children, they are my friends. Paddling is my passion, and the only thing better than paddling is getting someone else into it. It changes people's lives, and I guess that's why I decided to make my job my vocation. I feel extremely blessed to work with the best people in the world. The staff of my shop are not like my family, they are part of my family. Outside paddling I am an amateur blacksmith, woodworker and author. I write columns and essays for outdoor magazines and my first book will be published in Spring 2014. I have the coolest wife in the world who loves to paddle too.
I'm a sixth generation Mormon. My ancestors were converted to the Gospel in England 150 years ago and settled in Utah. My grandparents were great examples to me of being proud of their heritage. That said, I had to make my own decisions. There are times in my life where I had doubts, as do all, but I prayed and asked for guidance, as I still do daily. I was drawn to the Gospel because of the love the Saviour has for all of us...and I wanted to experience that directly and intimately. My testimony of Christ is that he is my Saviour, but just as importantly, he is my brother, and he loves me. I study other religions and philosophies, and there is much to learn from them...beyond the writings of some of the great Mormon theologians (Hugh Nibley, James Talmage, etc.), I also enjoy the writings of some of the early Christian writers like Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, St. Augustine, and modern ones like Thomas Merton and C.S. Lewis. I love the Gospel because it makes me a better husband and a better father. It makes me a better businessman (really!) because I know that all my staff and all my customers are my brothers and sisters. .
I live my faith in a few ways. First, I have callings in the church. I have been a youth instructor, adult instructor, nursery worker, president of our men's group, and I'm currently in the Bishopric of a Young Single Adult Ward. The service is important and it binds us together as a family. Second, I try to be a person who does what God would do if He were present. We are, I believe, the "boots on the ground" for God and Jesus Christ, who I believe expect us to love each other. The Good Samaritan is one of my favorite stories in the Bible...it was a good example to us, of course, but it's also an example of someone seeing past the labels we create for each other and helping a fellow child of God. Third, I try to be a good example. This doesn't mean I'm pious (frankly, I'm pretty rough around the edges sometimes), but my friends and everyone I contact knows I love them. I try to see the divine in everyone...it is always there. Always.