Jesse Itzler, be my friend

I just sent this as a Facebook message, and will pop a letter in the mail to his publisher tomorrow.

Dear Jesse:

I read Living with a SEAL this weekend, and I want you to be my friend. I am writing you, instead of pursuing a phone call the way you would, because I don’t want to be thought of as a stalker. Why would a successful entrepreneur want to be friends with a spinster aunt from rural America? Well, we have a lot in common:

  • Proud members of Generation X
  • Chutzpah
  • Always swinging for the fence
  • Belief in our dreams
  • Able to see the big picture

You see, Jesse, I live in a community that is changing every day. We’ve had two Olympic gold medalists (Ralph Hill and Dan O’Brien) come from Klamath, Crater Lake National Park is in our backyard, we know renewable energy in all of its forms (geothermal, solar, wind and biofuels to name a few), and we are launching the first Blue Zones Project in Oregon. A Miss America even lives in our county.

What we need is your friendship. You bring people together. Right now, Klamath Falls has a food desert in downtown. That is unacceptable. We could have a food co-op and grow our own fish and produce with geothermal and hydroponic technologies. What we need is a financial investment to make our knowledge worthwhile. Our community has a proud history built on agriculture and timber; we work for what we get and are not interested in handouts.

The Blue Zones Project is an effort to make the healthy choice the easy choice for residents; it is based upon National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner’s work with the healthiest centenarians worldwide.

Be my friend, and I will introduce you to some of the finest people on the face of the Earth. Your four children will know more about rural America. I can also help them know more about Theodore Roosevelt and Robert Benchley than any children anywhere.

Finally, I want you to know that we are both impulsive people. You jump into frigid lakes, because SEAL gave the order. More than a decade ago, I dashed out the kitchen door to protect my dog from a coyote that put her on the run. My mother chastised me and asked if it occurred to me that the coyote was probably ill as it came too close to the house for wildlife comfort. The answer was simple: it didn’t matter; I was protecting one of my primaries.

This community is one of my primaries, just as family is for both of us. Be my friend; call my community your home away from home. You know you want to run around the Crater Lake rim. You like sake and our local university has memoranda of understanding with several Japanese institutions. We are in the high desert, but we can also quench your thirst with local wine and micro-brewed beer.

Drop me a line and give me a chance to prove that we were meant to be friends.

Valeree Lane


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