On the Corner

On the Corner

By Robert Docter – 

With the publication of this edition, New Frontier says “so long” to Bob Bearchell. It isn’t an easy farewell for us. Bob was with us at the beginning and has been supportive all the way. His contributions to the paper have been mostly behind the scenes, but they helped lead us from the dark ages of “cut and paste” to the full fledged newspaper publishing we do today. All of us at New Frontier have gotten to know him well. We have discovered a magnificent human being–indefatigable and entirely focused … usually on several things at a time.

Bob’s identity is completely wrapped up in the Army. He is fully Army in every aspect of his being. His roles in life, his rules for living, his patterns of relationships, his sense of himself are always completely colored red, yellow and blue.

What one sees in Bob is what one gets. He is transparent and open in every way. He is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. There is no fakery in Bob Bearchell. What he says is what he means. What he does is always in the best interests of the Army. Cadets at the training school learn to love him and most continue to relate to him long after their graduation and commissioning. He communicates to them a sense of caring that is real–an interest that is authentic– a relationship that is real.

Bob truly cares about people. Human flesh and blood take priority over paper or status or things. If someone needs something — whether they be a recently retired commissioner or a second year cadet — they know they can depend on him to help them achieve an objective, find some material, develop an idea. When Bill Booth sent that message comprised of the word “Others” around the world several years ago, he initiated an ethic that lived in the heart of Bob Bearchell. He seems completely wrapped up in the business of helping others.

Bob is committed. He doesn’t go half way on things. He’s not a vacillator–not wishy-washy. He knows what the Word means. His commitment is to Christ, and he actualizes it through the Army. Commitment reveals itself in three ways: exclusivity, longevity and reciprocity. In terms of exclusivity, Bob takes the first commandment to heart. He has no other Gods. He lives, breathes, walks, thinks and works in an Army of Salvation committed to the cause of Christ.

Bob is not a fair weather Christian. He is in the fight for the full battle. He is always on the first team–always ready to “storm the forts of darkness”–ever ready with the war cry encouraging others to victory. When he left high school he went to work for the Army. Shortly thereafter he entered training. When he concluded his officership the employment he chose was with the Army. His stint of service exceeds 50 years. Bob Bearchell understands the relationship between commitment and longevity.

Reciprocity is a two way street. One gets as much as one gives. Bob’s commitment to Christ through the Army has brought him tremendous joy, wonderful development, and spiritual growth. He’s not afraid to grow–not afraid to accept new responsibilities–fearless in the face of challenge.

Bob is not perfect. What’s more important, he knows it. He’s a workaholic–carries two briefcases– always has his disaster preparedness material in the trunk of the car– never watches the clock–consistently arrives on holidays–obsessively completes lists– never falls short of a goal. His sense of humor, while hilarious, is sometimes off-putting, but never mean. He carries most things around in his head, and his personal contacts–from celebrities to street people–literally span the globe.

No job is too small for Bob, and no job is too big. He has absolutely no airs or puffed-up sense of importance about him. When the papers get picked up and loaded or unloaded, more often than not, it’s Bob doing the lifting. If the storage locker needs reorganization, he’s down there cleaning the place up. Give him a broom and he’ll sweep the place out.

Hey–he’s not dead–just taking another assignment because the Army said they needed him there, and he never forgot how to salute. We’ll miss him.

Throughout my life there have been only a very few who have impacted me in every phase of my existence. Bob is among them. He taught me the meaning of the word “friend.”

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