Honoring Fred Dusel

In March of 2016, I had the opportunity to host an art exhibit for Fred Dusel, a friend of mine I'd come to know here in Nashville. We were both veterans - and we both were survivors of a difficult childhood.

Fred had been diagnosed with lung cancer and his dream had been to have his photography exhibited before his death. I knew immediately I had an important job to do - to make his dream of an exhibit of his photography become a reality. So with the help of friends at The Arts Company and a website design and build by Chase Geiser, we held an exhibit of Fred’s work. When I’d visited him weeks before we planned the exhibit, he was at home in a recliner “waiting to die” – those were his words.

Because of the exhibit, Fred Dusel received 100's of orders for his photographs. When I was visiting with him last week, Fred told me our exhibit gave him extra time. He found a purpose in the midst of a terrible cancer to tell his story and share his life. He said he had periods that he could forget about the cancer when he was sharing his photography with others. Prints of Fred’s work hang throughout the Narus Health offices here in Nashville.

When I asked Fred what he hoped people found in his art, this was his reply: “It is my desire that people viewing my pictures will find that quiet, contemplative part of themselves. A place that allows them to feel some degree of peace in the midst of a storm." If you’ve taken the time to carefully view his photographs, I believe you’ll discover what he hoped you’d see: peace.

Fred went into hospice a few months ago – and last night, he went to join my son Ryan Burcham - and so many others we’ve all lost - in the world after this. He was a good friend. He was a mentor. He was a decorated war hero. We shared stories, cigars and scotch. But most of all, Fred was a person who defied the odds as life hurled its worst at him - and he made the best of it all. He made me want to be a better person.

You can view some of his work here: www.freddusel.photography

I love you Fred. Rest in Peace