You really do stop and smell the flowers

By Seth Rowe

"Big Jim" Richardson's motto is "Focus on the good, crush the bad and spread the love."

As a cancer survivor, the Grand Meadow Police Chief has done his best to "spread the love" to others fighting cancer.

"It's a tough gig, you know. Life is mental aerobics -- a constant battle with negatives," he said. "You can't get upset at the negatives. You have to have negatives to be able to measure the positives."


Richardson said his battle with cancer has helped him appreciate the simple, positive things in life that he used to overlook.

"I've got a lot of flowers now," the wrestler said. "I love the trees, the green grass. I stop and smell the flowers."

His Big Jim Classic golf tournament is in it's fifth year. Started originally to help offset his own bills, the proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Rochester, which provides temporary housing for cancer patients going through chemotherapy.

This year's event will be Aug. 16 at the Oaks Golf and Supper Club in Hayfield. The cost is $60 per person and includes 18 holes, a golf cart, two beverages and brats.

Richardson said raising the money is a form of self-therapy for him. His story can be therapeutic for others as well, said Sgt. Mike Gehrke, one of four part-time officers who work with Richardson in Grand Meadow.

"He should be an inspiration to everybody who has a potentially terminal illness that there's always hope," Gehrke said. "Things can always change. Never give up."

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