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03-13-15,CassieNesbit,KenHardin

By Cassie Nesbit

He has great advice.

Not just a thing or two, but everything.

He speaks from faith, family and fun to leadership, music and Batman.

But nothing means more to Ken Hardin, American Red Cross executive assistant, than the first three.

“I hit the core of everything that we talked about,” said Hardin. “The first three are really what best describe me: my faith, family and having fun.”

Hardin comes from a long line of preachers.

“My grandfather is a preacher, my dad’s a preacher,” said Hardin. “I grew up in the church: that’s all I know from the moment of inception to right now.”

Where faith was, family was near too.

“My friends came over one day,” said Hardin. “We were in the back yard. He (Hardin’s father) told us all to gather sticks, so we all got sticks. We brought them over. He says, ‘Kenny,’ because that’s what he called me. ‘Break a stick,’ so I took it and broke it in my hand.”

He told his two friends, Brandon and Elanzo, to break their stick too.

Then he told the boys to gather more sticks.

“We went to go get more sticks,” said Hardin. “He said, ‘give them all to Kenny.’”

Hardin had a pile of sticks in his hands.

“Kenny, Break it,” said his father according to Hardin.

But Hardin couldn’t.

“United: we stand,” said Hardin’s Father.  “Divided: we fall. Together we can do whatever we want to do but individually we can’t do anything.”

Lessons so big were taught at age 7 or 8.

Hardin plans to teach his 19-month-old son too.

“My father is really why I am the man that I am,” said Hardin. “But more importantly than that, one of the things his father instilled in him and my father instilled in me and that I plan on instilling in my son is family first and for most: making the sacrifices necessary for your family.”

Right now, Hardin and his son enjoy relaxing to music with one another.

“My son and I: we sleep to music at night,” said Hardin. “Right now we’re listening to this jazz lullaby stuff that I found on YouTube: it’s awesome.”

Before his son, Hardin’s marriage came first.

He’s been married for 4 years now.

“Just bought a house a year and a half ago and we’re trying to live a little piece of the American Dream,” said Hardin.

A dream based on faith and family.

But we can’t forget fun.

“Ask anybody who knows me, they’ll tell you, ‘Ken loves to have fun,’” said Hardin.

He’s not joking.

This funny guy loves to make people smile and laugh.

“There’s no harm in being serious about those things that are serious but I feel like you can find comedy and something funny in just about everything,” said Hardin.

That includes finding humor in a meeting.

“We were at Jefferson Barracks on Friday, and even though it was a very serious situation, we were still about to laugh at moments,” said Hardin. “We’re able to laugh in the best of times, the worst of times and that really is what gets you through.”

And something like fun is contagious.

“Laughter: I thought it to be infectious,” said Hardin. “So when you’re dealing with people who are having a hard day: whenever you start laughing, it tends to rub off of them. It’s contagious if you will.”

He’s not profit driven.

“I could very easily make more money and work for a larger organization and do different things other than what I’m doing right now,” said Hardin. “but it’s because the fact that I’m really mission driven at this point of my life and not even profit driven which is why I even work here.”

His priorities in life have led him to a purpose much greater than money.

That’s the message.

Not just any message, but truth.

“I think that if I were to pick my favorite sermon, it would probably be the woman at the well,” said Hardin. “This woman’s at that well getting water encountering Jesus and it really is a conversation that changes her life. What is so interesting about it is that when she leaves, she goes back into town and gets everybody ‘come see a man I met who told me everything that I ever needed to know about myself.’ That’s the core of the message: is that Christ was able to impact her in such an impactful way with love and truth in such a way where she wanted to tell everyone that she knew him.”

Awareness of what we do.

We can spread that too.

“That’s another thing that’s important being in the Red Cross,” said Hardin. “Being able to spread that message with hope and love regardless of who you are or what the circumstance is.”

Like a wise man once said, “united: we stand. Divided we fall. Together we can do whatever we want to do but individually we can’t do anything.”

Hardin teacher more than a lesson or two…

Hardin preaches a way of life.

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