By Kareena Maxwell
Chris Brown quotes Stephen King, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
Every Friday at 6:30 PM you can go to the Concho Valley Community Church in Concho, and eat for free at the Concho Community Kitchen. The number of people that show up is about 30 and he does it because “I care, I see the best in everything, and food is a healer and a bond,” he says. “Use what you have, do the best with what you have,” he continues, and he sees that Concho has resources and talent and all we have to do is pull it together and believe that it is possible to do well because Concho indeed can. “I need to be purposeful…I crave it,” he says. Chris Brown is busy living.
Under the umbrella of his devotion to God, Chris Brown follows a path that things happen with faith and sweat and a, “Just do it,” attitude. He decided to put a food theme to healing and its working. “God has a purpose for me. I am not a bench warmer. I have a god driven life,” he says. When he and his wife decided to provide the free weekly meal they went after donations, leaving the laborious 501 c 3 application out of the plan so that it could happen immediately. That’s when the idea of having fundraising events for weekly meals became a solid idea in his head. This included last October’s Wing –off, and this past April’s dance, meal and community event at the San Rafael Church in Concho that drew in almost 400 and raised $1,500 to support the Concho Community Kitchen meal program. It was bigger than they expected as the line was out the door into the parking lot.
Chris Brown is a big guy with big ideas. His well-defined features reflect an intellectual sort. His words during any conversation are carefully chosen but when he puts his hand under his chin you know the reflective Chris, and soul of the man is about to surface. The whole time, though, he fearlessly looks at you, into you and without hesitation keeps his big ideas and recent agenda for Concho, Arizona, at the core of his purpose.
Sitting recently during a dog day of summer in Concho, he said “I love it,” when I made reference to the heat and the ants that were crawling up his legs. He can’t stop thinking about ways to make life better for people, as he shooed off the insects.
He doesn’t ask that we do what we don’t want to, but that we fulfill ourselves in ways that make us happy. “Enthusiasm is a force multiplier. I like to get people to stand up and do what they can do. I don’t need to control everything.” He wants to get Concho “up and moving,” he says. A turning point toward his own happiness was when he decided to stop drinking alcohol, for good, and take off almost 200 pounds on his own. Back in Ohio, where he lived and worked in a liquor store, before his drive to Concho, his life changed when his future wife, Cori Rutherstrom, walked into the store and the rest of their story has been pure poetry in motion. They moved here in 2011, when he and Cori went traveling from Ohio with a wonder about the world and the idea that they wanted to come to Arizona. ”There was a calling here,” he says. They lived in a Chevy, Tioga camper 14’ long by 8’ wide, had no running water and hauled 5 gallon buckets of water and had 230 watts of solar for electricity.” Cori researched and they wanted to build an earth ship in Concho.
Inertia and apathy are things he would change in people. He enjoys the passion of ideas followed by creating them doing the work and believing that he, Cori and God are at the top of his beliefs. “Luke warm is not admirable,” he says.
His calendar from day-to-day involves being the community liaison and a para pro at the Concho Elementary School, the co-creator of a hot sauce, a board member at OCAC, co-organizer of the Concho Community Kitchen, as well as his ministry at the Concho Valley Church. This is a fulfilled life that he changed from less than fulfilling because he wanted to. It took months for Brown to pull these fundraisers off, “We have to do better he says.
“Concho has a superior pepper that has almost been forgotten. “I want the world to see the talent we have in Concho. All we need to do is to be us. Planning is good, but sometimes you got to get up and just move, Brown says.
Kareena Maxwell is an eight-time award winning author of seven books including “The Granny Chronicles: Learning to Speak Leopard,” “Meth Moon: To Hell & Back,” “The God of My Shoes,” and four other novels. Her books are available on Amazon.com. firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead