There are those rare occasions when a reporter is allowed to interject him or herself into one of their stories. After all we're human; we cry, laugh, bleed, eat, drink and sleep just like everyone else. This is one of those stories. Remember, this is a blog entry. Please feel free to comment your memories of Kevin Nurse. As always, thank you for reading.
Standing six-feet tall and more than 250 pounds, Kevin Nurse's build could intimidate just about anyone who crossed his path.
Truth was, behind those rough hands and that thick, booming New York accent, was a soft spot.
A spot so pure, real and comforting that it's not wonder his death has come as a major loss to all that knew him, and those who didn't.
It was February, and I was sitting at a table in the Mustang Bar and Grill in Victoria waiting for my interview with Kevin.
I had already known and heard his story.
Kevin was a UPS driver in New York who had received the heart of a local chef, Daniel Zarate, after he lost his life in a car accident.
That transplant changed Kevin's life. He suddenly gained a stronger interest in cooking and took his culinary art and expertise to a higher level.
He wanted to live out his life and the life of the man who lost his heart and his dreams.
Just as I was going through my notes, making sure I had his back story understood, out came Kevin, donning a white apron.
Wiping his hands, our hands shook. His grip was so strong and powerful.
"Damn," I thought to myself. "This is going to be a tough interview."
As we began talking about Kevin's life story and his aspirations, I saw it.
That little spot everyone else he touched had seen.
It was his passion.
I fell in love with him.
He was humorous, smart, lively and an excellent cook. He said my story wouldn't be complete without trying his Mustang burger. I easily gave in and oh, was it delicious.
It was like meeting up with an old friend. I kept my professionalism but all at the same time it wasn't so much an interview as it was a conversation.
Several hours had probably gone by and I realized I had to get back and write the story.
However, that wasn't the last time I saw Kevin. I had gone at least one other time to take a friend to try that infamous Mustang burger.
No one could turn down his cooking.
It had that special something, just like Kevin.
I know I didn't know Kevin as long as others had, but in the end, I knew him.
Meeting people like Kevin is what keeps my love for journalism burning.
I'm sure he'd say having a fellow cook's heart is what kept his flame burning to keep on cooking.
I found myself driving past the Mustang Bar and Grill craving one of his delectable burgers.
This was maybe several days before he passed away.
I should have stopped, but I didn't, and now the moment has passed.
But I don't have a gnawing feeling in my heart.
I know that Kevin knew how I felt about him and his story and I knew how he felt about me and about the story I wrote about him. He loved it.
Sometimes it's hard to feel when you're a reporter.
Covering deaths, fires, shootings and crimes regularly is our job, and we love it. However it does come with a price. The desensitization you sometimes may feel can worry you. You begin to wonder if you're even human anymore.
Then you have Kevin and countless other inspirational characters we get to write about. It's people like Kevin who manage to spoon their way into your heart.
It is them who remind you, you're human.
All I have to say is thank you and rest in peace, Kevin.
Your inspiration went beyond your cooking ability and inspirational story.
My condolences to all his family and friends.
Each of the following links is a part of Kevin Nurse's heart transplant story.
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