Forever Outdoors

(Deb) And I don’t want to spoil it, we’re gonna talk about Rob Robinson. Good old boy from Mississippi and a friend of his, Gil Alexander out in Nicodemus. Now have you ever visited Nicodemus Frank? (Frank) Not to my knowledge. (Deb) Nicodemus was a black settlement founded primarily by the Exodusters after the Civil War was over. So freed slaves were looking for land and of course, where they were there wasn’t a lot of land available and Kansas was one of those states that advertised to come west and find a place to settle. So, Nicodemus was one of those great sites. And Gil Alexander lives in Nicodemus, fourth generation there. So, we’re gonna tell you an incredible story about Gil Alexander and his good friend from Mississippi. (Frank) Great. (Deb) It all started with a turkey. Rob Robinson is a good ole boy from Mississippi, a fireman in Starkville . He had been traveling to Kansas to hunt deer for 20 years when he turned his attention to turkeys. His second year of hunting, he landed the Kansas state record and bagged a 26 and a half pound bird. (It was number 7 in the world.) Rob was going for the grand slam of turkey hunting (four different types of bird) and headed for Nicodemus, Kansas. There, he knocked on the door of Gil Alexander, a 4th generation farmer and rancher, to ask permission to hunt on his land. Gil recalled the day three years later that Rob returned to ask if he could pitch a tent in Gil’s yard. Gil did not recall the name, but he sure remembered the Southern accent, an accent that often put him on edge. Gil grew up in the 1960s when images of the South on television were dominated by violence toward blacks. His own great-grandfather had escaped a plantation in Mississippi and joined the 10th Kansas Cavalry at Fort Leavenworth, the legendary Buffalo Soldiers. This Southern boy standing on Gil’s doorstep was the last person he expected to become such an important part of his life. Gil was on dialysis in the morning, cutting milo in the afternoons. He had gone to the top of the list for a kidney from a cadaver, but Rob said no, I’m giving you a kidney. In November of 2012, Rob came to Kansas City and celebrated Thanksgiving with Gil’s family and Monday they headed to the hospital.The organ match, said doctors, was closer than siblings. The kidney functioned immediately. It was an emotional moment for Gil to visit Rob in Mississippi and find himself in the same county in which his great grandfather was born a slave, just miles from Rob’s home. Rob’s white family welcomed him with open arms as a new member of the family. Since then, Rob and Gil have begun a new endeavor, Forever Outdoors, an organization that enables people with challenges to get outside and hunt and fish and do all those things these men have enjoyed. Rob says, we welcome veterans, kids, organ donors or recipients, cancer survivors — anyone with challenges to overcome. Rob envisions a 5-star resort in northwestern Kansas some day soon. In the meantime, they have held turkey hunts and muzzle loading shoots and other events to benefit the cause. Forever Outdoors has a FB page and those wishing to get involved may contact Rob at the number or email on our screen. And to think, it all started with a turkey.