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SITKA Team | 4.30.2020

What Mom Taught Me with SITKA Ambassadors

They nurture us, challenge us and guide us. They show us strength when it matters most, teach us gratitude and instill balance. We want to extend a thank you to all moms for fostering the spirit of the next generation. It’s because of your dedication that the world and wild things can thrive.

Below are quotes from our Ambassadors that offer a glimpse into their journey with their moms. We asked them, “How has your mom inspired you?” These are their responses.

RACHEL AHTILA


“Don’t peak, my dear. Don’t ever peak. Always make tomorrow better than today,” my mum would say. This line fell on teenage ears that didn’t fully comprehend its meaning. It wasn’t until years later while I watched this remarkable woman fulfill her dreams that it truly sank in. Without hesitation she continually met her goals. She earned a master’s degree, started skydiving, became a ski rescue and emergency rescue certified, scuba dived around the world and crushed her role as a mother. She taught me how to look at a challenge and give it a wink. She showed me the sky isn’t the limit, the ground is. I am not sure I would have been brave enough to pursue my dreams had I not had such a strong role model and friend. I just hope that I can inspire the same way my mum has continued to inspire me.”


Rachel’s mom, Valerie, sky diving in 1997.

ALEX TEMPLETON

“My mother is the epitome of a hard-working woman that exemplifies a steady, loving and kind spirit. She has worked at the local elementary school full-time for 23 years while working with my dad on our family farm and ranch operation. Typically, she works a full day in town and comes home to bottle feed calves or help in countless other ways. On top of that, she’s raised four daughters and now two granddaughters. She readily does whatever is needed and always with a smile.

Her kindness knows no bounds and everyone who knows her loves her. She genuinely strives to be the best version of herself every single day. Through watching her walk through life, I am inspired to spread kindness, grace, and understanding to others. As I've gotten older, more and more often, I see pieces of her shine through in me. I can only hope I make her as proud as she makes me. I am so lucky to be her daughter.”

Alex’s mom, Kim, helping out on their family ranch.

AARON HITCHINS


“My mom has inspired me in so many ways. I struggle to define it. She’s an optimist that revels in every opportunity. She laughs through hardship and celebrates even the smallest sliver of blue sky. She doesn’t live life as a spectator but as an active participant. She lets her curiosity be her guide. The momentum she’s built to live life fully has shaped my true north.

Seeing, in retrospect, the decisions and sacrifices she made to facilitate a life outdoors, is something I will be eternally grateful for. With my sister and I moved on to adulthood, Mom has taken every opportunity to get outdoors, from daily jaunts to train her lab for waterfowl hunting to hiking to Everest Base Camp.

She has always been supportive of us, but perhaps the thing that continues to amaze me the most is how tough she is and how hard she charges. When things get gnarly on the mountain and I feel like giving up, I always remember that Mom would keep kicking ass and that I ought to do the same."


Aaron’s mom, Maureen.

CLAY HUDNALL


“My mother has impacted my life so greatly. She's inspired me with unwavering positivity and grit regardless of how difficult the situation is. Her character shined bright as she battled breast cancer. Watching her fight and conquer this disease not once, but twice, while remaining steady and optimistic was so powerful. She’s changed the way I approach life. I always try to stay positive no matter what I am faced with. Her example of how to walk through chaos has opened my eyes and made me live life in the moment. She’s deepened my gratitude and taught me to be present. Tomorrow is not promised to us and because of her, I choose to live a happy and positive life every day. Mom has been cancer-free for seven years now and counting!”


Clay’s mom, Micki, working horses circa 1992.

BARTON RAMSEY


“My mom was a fighter. In the last few years of her life, she endured many challenges. She was a victim of physical abuse, she endured treatment for stage 3 breast cancer, she was attacked by a home intruder, and she was again diagnosed with stage 4 terminal breast cancer. Through all of this, she never gave up. She never asked for sympathy. In the wake of each struggle, she came out stronger and more resilient than before.

As I face challenges along the way, whether family or career, I remember the way my mom endured. She is a constant motivator in my heart to stay strong, maintain focus, and never give up.

As I launched my business, Southern Oak Kennels, embarking on a completely new career path as an entrepreneur, I overcame many fears and struggles through the resilience passed down from my mom. When I want to give up or believe that a struggle might be too difficult to overcome, I remember all that she overcame.”


Barton’s mom, Lori, circa 1991.

RANDY NEWBERG


“My mom always had confidence in me. When the challenges seemed daunting, she showed unwavering support and confidence in me. She convinced me I could do anything I set my mind to. When I failed, she made it clear that my effort moved me forward toward my goals. By giving my best effort, there was no defeat in her eyes. She was determined to help me find confidence in myself and to value my contribution to the world.

Growing up in a small town with daily financial struggles, my young mind could have been confined by what I saw in the lives of the people around me. If my mind was consumed by doubt, worry, and a lack of enthusiasm, the hill ahead would have felt much steeper. Instead, my life was one of dreams and confidence, making the likelihood of accomplishments and satisfaction much higher. Without her, my life would be far different. My energy for big ideas would have no fuel. Challenges and difficulties would have defined my life.

A while back this inspiration caused me to write down a small line that I often refer back to at times when I feel the task ahead is too big: “Fate is what you let happen; destiny is what you make happen.” When it comes to my life, I’m about making things happen, not letting them happen. In this mantra, all roads lead to my mom’s steady presence cheering me on.”


Randy and his mom, Karen, in the summer of 1966.