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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Life of adventure begins in Cherokee

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Despite the need for crutches, Delbert Scott and his wife, Annette, enjoyed a visit to the Great Wall of China. Photo contributed.
Delbert Scott never forgot the words of his third grade teacher in Cherokee, Clara Delaschmutt.

The 65-year-old former U.S. Navy Chief Bosun's Mate who now lives in Wichita Falls, Texas, has lived a life of accomplishment and adventure, drawing inspiration from his teacher who told him more than half a century ago, "Delbert, you can do anything you decide to do."

Several years later, another faculty member of the Cherokee school system had a profound influence on Scott's life, only this time it would not be from an attempt to encourage him. In fact, the high school principal, for reasons that remain a mystery to Scott, told the 16-year-old boy to leave the school and never come back.

"Back then, a kid didn't question what he was told by a principal," Scott said.

Even this seemingly cruel act opened up a world to Scott that he would not have otherwise experienced. Unable to pursue his education, the boy convinced his parents, Roy and Vida Scott, to give permission for him to enter the Navy, He was sworn in the day before his 17th birthday.

Two years later, Scott received a letter from the high school inviting him back to high school, his expulsion apparently cancelled as mysteriously as it began.

"I never did understand what I did to get kicked out," Scott said.

By the time the letter arrived, Scott was already a world traveler, having been to China and back twice.

Although Scott would eventually resume an academic education, as well as acquiring a variety of technical and language skills, at that time the young man felt he was getting a more worthwhile education in the ways of the world than what he could in high school.

Although he left the school system in Cherokee as the result of a punitive action, Scott retains fond memories of his Cherokee childhood. His attitude toward life was influenced more by the encouraging words of his third grade teacher than by the angry words of his high school principal.

It would seem, that Scott could indeed do anything, as his teacher had told him. He got his GED. Later, the deeply religious man obtained a B.A. in Theology at the age of 40. In the meantime, he received Navy training that had more direct application to his service.

He became an aviation tech and a river salvage expert. Scott also has an aptitude for languages. Between his training from the Navy and what he has learned on his own, Scott speaks Vietnamese, Mandarin and Cantonese. He can quote scripture in Hebrew and knows a little Arabic. He can also speak a little of the Tex-Mex style of Spanish spoken in Texas.

His service in the Navy included combat duty on a riverboat in Vietnam.

Following Navy service, Scott spent several years in Israel, some of that time living and working at a Kibbutz, an agriculturally based community. Although a devout Christian, Scott has deep respect for the Jewish people.

Scott helped harvest tons of honey from beehives, clad only in shorts and a t-shirt.

"I was only stung twice, both times it was my fault," Scott said.

Prominent among his accomplishments was marrying his wife, Annette, a registered nurse and a former Red Oak, Iowa, native. They have three sons, Benjamin Israel, Jacob Jordan and Lucas Andrew.

Through all the accomplishments, Scott had three specific life goals established when he was a young man -- to visit the Great Pyramids of Egypt, to visit Israel and to visit the Great Wall of China.

He has climbed to the top of a pyramid and has spent years in Israel. His final goal was not accomplished until this past May when he embarked on a 19-day trip to China in celebration of the Scotts' 25th wedding anniversary.

The day before his departure, he broke a foot. His doctor recommended that the trip be cancelled.

"I told the doctor that he could cut the foot off if that was necessary. I was going on the trip," Scott said.

An amputation was not needed and Scott made the trip, which included a cruise up the Yangtze River and a visit to the Three Gorges Dam, as well as a visit to the Great Wall.

Despite the need for crutches, Scott enjoyed the trip. "I would recommend a trip like this to anyone. We loved it," Scott said.

At the age of 65, Scott has fulfilled the promises he has made to himself and the promise made to him by his third grade teacher.

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