Call it The Odd Couple revisited. When Mendy Mendenhall participated in a Big Brothers Big Sisters fishing event with the Prescott Fly Casters Club and Lynx Creek Unlimited this past year, he didn’t anticipate wanting to become a Big Brother. He got out of his car, attached his oxygen to his nose, and considered the day to be a one-time opportunity to share some fishing wisdom with a few kids.
As Jesse got off the van, his energy level was through the roof. He bounced down to the beach, to the trees and to the BBBS staff. We never saw such energy. We certainly didn’t expect this “one day” match to last.
Serendipity intervened when Mendy was randomly paired with a waiting Little, Jesse. The two fishing enthusiasts hit it off. Having had a taste of being a Big, Mendy requested to be Jesse’s permanent Big Brother. Several months later, friendship has bonded the retiree and 13-year-old – a connection sure to last a lifetime.
There’s more to their friendship than fishing. Mendy and Jesse regularly spend time together doing activities such as bowling, miniature golfing and playing pool. They also enjoy eating at their favorite restaurant, Taco Bell. (Jesse enthusiastically declared menu No. 6 as their regular order.)
However, this pair is more than just about doing stuff; it’s about the quality time they spend together. Jesse has a wonderful family with some limitations, like not living with his dad. A retired businessman and member of the Prescott Noon Lions Club, Mendy’s influence enhances Jesse’s life in so many ways. Mendy is a trustworthy man with whom Jesse can chill, laugh, and seek mature advice.
Jesse admires Mendy because though his age would suggest otherwise, Mendy isn’t “old.” Jesse humorously explained, “People think people with gray hair are old. Old people are not active people like my (18-yearold) brother.” He appreciates Mendy’s big belly laughs when he tells jokes. Mendy, in turn, values Jesse’s innate kindness and awareness of others’ needs. He said that being a Big not only keeps him young and active, but it also has helped him to be a more compassionate listener. It’s impressed upon his life so much that, he said, “People get tired of me talking about it.”
Mendy anticipates a bright future for his Little: “I look forward to Jesse going through high school and beyond.” Jesse plans to become an undercover cop and a Big. Until then, they’ll continue to enjoy their roles as Big and Little, and cultivate that friendship in which, Mendy assures, “he’ll be there for me, and I’ll be there for him.”
Do you want to see how easy it can be for you to watch a Little go a long way? Call YBBBS at 778-5135 and see what a difference you can make in the life of a child.
Match of the Month is part of The Daily Courier’s Child of the Week feature in cooperation with Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters, which provided the information about this week’s match. BBBS presently has many children waiting for adults to step forward and be mentors.