When my friend, Jerry Green, asked for The Mark White Show to help get the word out about Christian Westen’s accident, I asked Jerry to write down his thoughts about his friend. Because Jerry did such a good job expressing their friendship, I’m going to stop right here and let you read the story for yourself.
I don’t know if I could really fit everything about my friendship with Chris into words, but I will try. The story of how we actually met will only go back a year. Kyle and I were on our way back from Birmingham, and we stopped at Woods and Water in Tuscaloosa. Christian was working a turkey expo there. He is a call rep for Reynolds Custom Calls, Tony Reynolds is the owner, which I will tell you more about later. Many call reps were at the show, however, Chris took the time to really work with my son, Kyle. Kyle had never really used any turkey calls. These calls ranged from $50 to $250 dollar custom calls. Kyle would make a few noises to say the least. However, when Chris showed one change of a finger, Kyle sounded as good as an intermediate caller. The point here is Kyle is shy and has a hard time meeting strangers. At the time, Kyle was 10 years old. I am sure Chris lost some business because of taking 2 hours with Kyle. The other reps would only look at me. They would not talk to Kyle. Kyle is also my child who saves his money for big things. He asked me before I left if he could by two of the calls. I told him, “Not today” thinking he would use them two or three times and throw them down. We went home, and Kyle worked hard to prove to me he wanted them. He did, and he bought them. Well, Chris was also running a contest at the same time for a call. Chris’s daughters chose the winner based on Kyle’s willingness to work for the calls. Kyle is also my child who had brain surgery.
Chris and I have talked on phone or texted at least once a week since the turkey call expo. He try’s getting other kids involved in the outdoors. If I find old hunting clothes or giveaways, I send them to him to give to those kids.
While we were at the deer expo in Birmingham, Chris was representing another company he works for. He took the time to ask customers if they would excuse him while he came over to hug Kyle and see how he liked the show. Chris is always putting others first.
The greatest example of putting others first came when Kyle was diagnosed with Chiari. We found out a week before the turkey calling contest in West Point, Mississippi. I had not told any of his family yet. I wanted to tell them in person. I waited until after the contest and all the customers had left. I told Chris the news about Kyle along with his family and Tony Reynolds. I never saw so much sadness in our families. We may be born from different mothers and fathers but I feel very close because he offers prayers for others non-stop. Chris came from many miles away to Children’s of Alabama and ran some turkey classes on the 7th floor. Kyle was still in a lot of pain but he smiled and perked up. This guy is also macho, tux wearing and camo wearing, but on that day, he made sure to wear purple. He is an admin for the Southern Hunt and Lies page on Facebook. He was using his page to share about Chiari. Before Kyle, he had never heard of it.
Finally, but not really, I want to speak of this last thing. The wreck. First of all how did he and his children survive? You and I both know the answer. Chris has not asked for help financially. Myself, along with many others, are trying to raise money for him. During the wreck, Chris’s 12 year old son suffered a broken wrist and two of Chris’s daughters had bruised lungs. Currently, Chris has a broken femur so he cannot work. His wife is in real estate so she is the only one working. They have just bought an old farm out of town. Through all of this he’s only asked for prayers. Chris has primarily asked for prayers for the family of the one who was killed. The gentlemen who died, actually came into Chris’s driving path. The man had no insurance and had a suspended license. Chris told me he believes he has over $200,000 in medical bills. He has already received one bill for $3900 for the ride in ambulance.
I also want you to give a shout-out for those trying to help him find his dog. The family’s dog, Bella, went missing after the wreck.
Another thing I really appreciate about him is his kids are always praying. I have seen them praying outside the shows and at the shows. They came up to me and told me about Zachariah, Moses, Peter, Paul, and various biblical characters. You tend to see a man in his actions.
There is so much more I could say this is some of the best parts of our friendship.
If you would like to help the Westen family, I would encourage you to go to the GoFundMe site that has been established for them. Please share this story and help spread the word. It’s going to take a committed group of people to make this special fundraising effort a success!