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July 5, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
We all experience moments of gnawing uncertainty. At such times, we ask ourselves questions such as “Who am I?” and “Where do I belong?”
Jeff Barrow, the Columbia resident profiled in this week’s feature seems to have found some answers to these soul-searching questions. In the wake of personal tragedy, he discovered what makes him happy, something that can elude people their whole lives.
Barrow’s passions are the Missouri River and friends he treats like family. He spends his free time cleaning the river, canoeing on it with his “pirate” crew and helping facilitate white-water races on it. Once, he even embarked on a 340-mile race on the river, paused to attend a book signing and hopped back in the water to finish the race.
Barrow takes the same all-in approach to his relationships. He’s the kind of man who would — and did — travel thousands of miles to offer his support to a friend in need. He likes to joke that he’s a charmer, but his actions go beyond charisma. They demonstrate kindness, generosity and loyalty upon which his loved ones have come to rely.
But finding his niche wasn’t easy; it took some time for Barrow to figure out where he belongs. Our feature story reveals the sweeping turns and false starts of Barrow’s life journey. In unexpected ways, life has led him to a place in this world where he finds fulfillment from lending a hand.
I admire Barrow’s ability to give so much of himself to the people and causes that are important to him. He doesn’t timidly dip a toe in life’s waters to see if they’re too cold. He dives right in.