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Steve Baldwin, a man with a mission
Howard Lestrud, Contributing Writer
Howard Lestrud, Reflections
“God is great.”
-Steve Baldwin, Retired Teacher

Dial his telephone number and your day’s activities are filled.

Steve Baldwin, 75, is a retired special education teacher from Michigan who Judy and I met at the University of Minnesota Hospital 28 years ago. He and his late wife, Heather, and two children, Erin and Dan, were in Minnesota for medical reasons, as were we. 

Son Dan needed a liver transplant.

The Lestruds and Baldwins would get together often when the Baldwins traveled from Michigan to Minnesota for Dan’s many doctor appointments.

Our daughter Tammi, age 22 at the time, was also at the University hospital because of a diseased liver. Both were awaiting a liver transplant. Dan was age 10 at the time.

Many of you who read this column regularly know that our daughter Tammi died after having two liver transplants. Dan, now 38, resides in California and is doing well health-wise. Dan works for an events company. His father Steve lives only 20 miles from him.

Judy decided to telephone Steve the other day and PRESTO, we were on the phone with him for two enchanting hours.

Let’s call Steve

Dan, awaiting a transplant, was visited by Tammi in the hospital many times. She was an inspiration to him, said his father. Dan’s parents told our family that he was in dire need of a transplant. He actually had turned green in color. A transplant definitely was successful for Dan, and he remains healthy with the help of medications.

Tammi fought rejection and left us on Aug. 29, 1995. Dan’s transplant came in May of 1995.

It is really a special time when we reach out to one another.

“I love to talk about my family members who have left us early,” remarks Steve. The family members include Heather.

When we are on the telephone line with Steve, we often log over two hours of interesting discussion.

Loses his wife

Steve’s wife Heather passed unexpectedly and violently seven years ago. A former elementary school teacher, Heather was visiting friends in California who were involved in the SOWERS group with the Baldwins.

The SOWER (Servants On Wheels Ever Ready) Ministry is a Christian couples RV work ministry providing volunteer help to Christian ministries. The SOWER Ministry is primarily one of physical labor. SOWERS use their skills assisting in construction, remodeling, and maintenance.

Heather, meeting with fellow SOWER friends one day, stepped backwards from a fifth wheel RV, fell, and struck her head violently on the concrete. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she died two days later.

Steve is still involved with the SOWER group and helps the organization by devoting so many handyman hours to communities in need. He is helping monitor a project on solar power and how it can benefit the SOWER ministry.

Life changes

Steve’s life has changed greatly over the past many years. He lives in a self-contained fifth wheel and loves it. He also has become a vegan as have his children. He and Dan hook up at least once a week.

Daughter Erin and her husband live in Denver, Colorado. Erin is employed by the Botanical Gardens of Denver.

Steve loves to talk and will usually give you an opinion on any subject a person brings up. Sharing his thoughts on being a vegan, Steve, admitting to being an eccentric, says one’s tastebuds change.

He loves vegan burgers. He also tries to avoid oils in foods. This type of diet helps clean out your arteries, Steve believes. His cholesterol is also under control, he revealed.

His meals would include flaxseed meal, beans, pancakes, soy milk, rice, and pasta.

Changing world

Working with all age groups, Steve says he has learned much about the changing world. “Do you know what the term DINK means?” Steve asks. He responds: “Double Income No Kids. He also shares the definition of SINK: “Single Income No Kids.” He works with all these people.

Steve devotes much of his time to the Mount Tilead Bible Camp at Fahstopol. Steve loves people and calls himself an interventionist.

“I have a pension, Social Security, health care and a home,” he chuckles on his cell phone.

“God is great,” Steve says, showing his strong Christian background.

He served the military in Vietnam and met his wife while home on leave.

“I spotted this little redhead and wanted to make her my wife,” he says. He did just that.

Steve and his family love dogs, one they owned they named Tammy, and another, Maia.

When visiting with his SOWER lady friends, they often say he should remarry. Steve rebuts that suggestion, saying he has the memories of Heather and has two children, plus he has a mission (SOWER) to follow.

“I don’t choose a grandma to join my life,” Steve laughs. “Another marriage would only dilute my mission.”

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