I wrote about Kurt recently (though I fussed and worried about him being sad, which he really isn't), asking people to send him affectionate words to thank him for what he does and who he is.
Kurt wanted to say this in response:
I am in a wonderful space. I'm enjoying an incredible IML with 48 new brothers and having the experience of a lifetime. My Journey is to be continued at home in San Diego. The outpouring of love and suport from everyone is cherished more than anything I could imagine. My work is far from finished, only this moment of a weekend and contest is over.Here are a few of the responses I received, and there are many more that went directly to Kurt:
From: Daddy Don
Although competing at IML is big, it seems very small when you consider Kurt's overall accomplishments over the past 15 months since winning the title of Mr. San Diego Leather 2011.
I have known Kurt for about seven months. Over those seven months I have learned a great deal about him and I would like to share those qualities with you. Call it what you will, I am just extremely observant and perceptive when it comes to leathermen like Kurt.
Kurt gauges his worth by making a comparison of how his current accomplishments exceed his past accomplishments and not by comparing himself to others.
He sets his own goals regardless of what others deem to be important.
Kurt does not dismiss or take for granted the things closest to his heart.
He devotes his time on earth living in the present not the past or the future.
Kurt displays persistence, when he feels he still has something to give.
He has the courage to admit he is not perfect or that he might depend on others.
Kurt has the confidence to take risks.
He opens up his inner self, his life, and himself to love.
Kurt does not disregard his dreams, but maintains hope and purpose.
He knows that in his life's journey each step on that pathway should be savored.
Kurt safely transcends limits, borders, and boundaries, while thinking out of the box.
He remains loyal to himself, as well as, to his fellow leatherfolk.
Kurt transmutes pain into pleasure.
He trusts himself and seeks out others he can trust.
Kurt lives by his own set of rules and is self disciplined.
He is always a leatherman whether dressed in leather, jeans and tee shirt or wearing a suit.
And last, but not least, Kurt fully realizes that you are not a leatherman simply by someone else proclaiming you to be so.
Admittedly, I have learned some of these things through conversations with Kurt, but I have also relied on just standing back and observing. This practice is a personality trait, at which I am extremely proficient and I consider it my forte. You can learn so much about people.
We are blessed count you among one of our HEROES. Stay Golden.
You are a winner in my book my friend! Thank you for having the courage to compete in IML! Thank you for your selfless hours you devote to our community. I am proud to call you my friend and my leather brother!
Congratulations Kurt! From one ENFP to another, I say well done and I am honored that you represented me and San Diego, that is the important thing, that is the great thing. I look forward to your return and offer my help in anyway that you may need it. I am so proud of you.
You had the opportunity to be the representative of San Diego at IML. That, in and of itself is an amazing accomplishment. You may not have made the top twenty. But you are number one in my book. I am so proud of you and all you have done. Experience the emotion (the highs and the lows). Let all that is good empower you to rise above the ashes. Trust me. I have been there.
Kurt is my hero.
He moved to San Diego at almost the exact time I decided to leave my comfortable suburban cave and get back into the leather community. We met at the first FMSD "Dress it up/Strip it down" night that either of us had attended. He was alone when I walked up to talk to him. That was because he knew almost nobody yet. And it's probably the last time he was or ever will be alone in a bar in this town!
It took about 5 minutes to decide that he was someone I really wanted for a friend. Meeting him that night is a big part of the reason that I'm still here.If he, and a few others, had not made me feel welcome that night, I'd have probably bounced off the community and would be back to living a hermit's life. Meeting Kurt is what convinced me that I could make new friends and be accepted.
Only 6 months later, Kurt was Mr. San Diego Leather 2011. By then, I knew all the contests and considered them my friends, so it was a bittersweet thing to see. Kurt was still pretty new in town, and while at that point he may not have done as much for the community as some of the other contestants who had been local leathermen for much longer, it was evidently clear to the judges that he was going to be a star. And it's now clear to everyone that he is an outstanding representative for the community!
It speaks to his commitment and character that Kurt has maintained an insane public schedule for the last 14 months as Mr. San Diego Leather, while dealing with personal and professional challenges that would have made most people withdraw. But Kurt is at his best when helping others and giving to the community that knows and loves him!
And that's why he's my hero!
From: boy kirk
I do not know you and can only send some words...but they are honest and real, so I hope they offer some solace.
It's said that once you step on stage you have already won...it some ways that is true, you have garnered admiration from everyone there, ESPECIALLY those who were in the title run with you...NEVER FORGET THAT!
To me that meant more than anything else...and what you have in your heart now and soul is more than any medal can bring...I kid you not.
There is never any failure in doing something, there is failure in not doing...YOU have accomplished more than many by doing what you have done...
My hearty congrats to you bro...YOU ARE THE BEST, just take time to feel it inside!
Only someone who has gone to IML as a contestant, understands what it's like, the excitement, the fear, the bonds that develops between the contestants.
Just participating is amazing.
Hey, Tony....I wrote Kurt a private note and let him know just how proud I was of him and his service. His answer let me know just what kind of a man he is. Just to be there onstage at IML is an amazing accomplishment and a testament to his efforts....ever man up there could be the one, and I have little doubt there were great differences in their total scores. Was great seeing him there during the introduction and how great a time he was having.
Let's have a big party when he returns and we can all give our love.
Tony, please send him not only my deep thanks for all he does but because he's one of the "Brothers Keepers...". Titles come and ago, I just hope he can find the Joy he gave to so many by doing his part.
Thank you, Papa Tony. L♥ve & Hugs to you, Kurt. Thank you for just being you and also for being a wonderful Mr. San Diego Leather as well as representing San Diego at IML. Thank you. I am looking forward to seeing you when you get back. Breathe and hydrate and have fun. Just like you were doing before the IML weekend began. You are not a former titleholder. You are still, and always will be, Kurt - Mr. San Diego Leather 2011. See you soon. Safe travels.
From: Wish Linda
Thank you for posting this. Kurt is amazing. I've already shared my words with him.
Kurt, I don't know you, but I do know what it takes to volunteer and serve your community. It is a tireless, thankless job that many of its rewards are felt on the inside rather than expressed on the outside. Thank you for all you have done for the San Diego leather and fetish community and being an ambassador throughout the world for the service and quality of the San Diego community.
Mr. Kurt. I know that I have been blessed with knowing you from the various organizations that we are in. I know that I do not know you on a more personal level as a closer friend, but I do know that so many here including myself have been blessed since you moved here to San Diego. I know what a title holder can go through and how much it cost, not just in the wallet. You have always held my admiration and have my support and hand if needed, remember that. You are a very special and awesome man.
Kurt, you're a wonderful man and one who doesn't need a title to do the things he wants. Don't give up; keep going and do what is in your heart!
We are so excited to get you back to San Diego and share what you learned on this journey. This must have been an amazing experience to meet with so many leather men from around the country and the world. The fellowship alone should give you great stories to tell and ideas that benefit us here in SD.
Kurt is a Amazing Wonderful Passionate Guy. He puts the needs of others before his own and is the first person to make the newbie feel welcome. I have met him at a couple events and when he sees you he's there with open arms and a big smile. San Diego is a better place because Kurt is here with us.
Kurt is awesome.
Kurt, you impressed me brilliantly when I met you in Pistons (I was one of the male judges - that oughta do it). Thank you for the work you do representing good leathermen everywhere you go. Winning contests and, indeed, winning titles is not necessary but should be fun. Have some fun and come home a winner in all our eyes.
A sash is not required to confirm greatness. Kurt will always be a great man and dear to the hearts of those that know and love him.