It started with a request for a bandaid.
“Hey, was it you who I saw had the medical kit?”
It was a roasting day on a withering range in the middle of Oklahoma in September. It was so hot the grass that wasn’t dead crunched beneath your feet and as much heat rose from the ground as pounded down from the open sky. There was no shade and twenty or so of us who were passionate enough to subject ourselves to Tom Givens’ Instructor Development class were somewhere between heat stroke and excited delirium. We’d just entered a much needed break and the attendees broke from the range, fleeing for shade, water and the air conditioned classroom faster than cockroaches scurrying from light.
I was kept from joining them by the query.
“Yeah. What do you need?”
I didn’t know the man standing in front of me. He was tall, dressed in olive drab pants and a green boonie hat and dark glasses covered his face. He’d been on the opposite side of the range from me all day and kicking the majority of the other attendees tuckuses. His assigned classroom seat was in the back of the room and every now and then Tom would hail him to ask him for advice on the content of the class.
“Isn’t that right, Chuck?.. Has that been your experience, Chuck?”
Who was this man? Rarely had I seen a lead instructor give so much deference to an attendee.
This exchange would be our introduction and the only words we’d share in that class together.
“A bandaid,” he said.
“Sure!” I chirped. Eager to have the 15 lbs of gear I dragged with me to the range worth the effort.
While I searched through the contents of my bag I realized that I had used my last bandaid and apologized.
“No problem,” he said and off we went. Me to find shade. Him to find a bandaid.
Chuck had to leave class early and when Tom explained the reason for allowing a breach in regular protocol he explained who Chuck Haggard was and why he was allowing the exception of an early departure.
I won’t go as far as to say I felt honored to be asked for a bandaid from him but I did feel lucky to be in a class with him. It’s a rare occurrence when you get to meet a legend and don’t even know it.
The thing about Chuck is that he’s one of the most famous tactical gun guys you will never read about. Thousands upon thousands of people will go through training and classes and watch videos by YouTube celebrities and seek out their internet-famous instructors and will never hear the name, Chuck Haggard. Even if they do they won’t really know who he is. They won’t place his face or remember why they know the name but he’s there–a sort of best kept secret of the gun community.
Maybe he’s the best kept secret because he’s too damned humble.
I had the privilege of sitting down to lunch with him not long ago and asked him all of the things he was certified to teach. He laughed and said that whenever he starts listing his certifications and experience he feels like he’s bragging on himself. He then proceeded to list a training resume’ that would make most instructors jealous.
But more importantly than his training and qualifications is his knowledge and his experience, his willingness to help and his flexibility.
I have not have the privilege to take firearms instruction from him yet but I have attended his lecture on active shooters at the tactical conference and have been honored to get his feedback on a couple of my projects. Without even knowing that he knew I existed, he dropped my name to Claude Werner and got us in touch. He’s even popped up from time to time to give me unsolicited advice that I was happy to receive.
When I put out a plea for instructors to potentially help for a family conference I wanted to put together Chuck was one of the first to volunteer. He spent hours on the phone with me helping arrange things and bouncing ideas off the wall. He’s rolled with every adaptation to the schedule and offered so much information and time out of the generosity of his heart. A few weeks from now he’s helping with another project I’m working on and I can’t wait to glean from his experience and knowledge.
I’ve rarely met a more flexible, patient and “no problem” man who also comes with such a generous spirit.
He deserves the recognition–not only for who he is, but also for what he’s done and how little he asks in return.
Thank you, Chuck Haggard. You humble and teach me every time our paths meet.