A CULTURE WITHOUT HONOR is a culture that will quickly crumble.
Sadly, we’re seeing that all around us and the concept of honor is one that few people understand much less practice.
I think we have all been guilty of it.
We have entered an era where some of the most prominent outdoors ambassadors are not as well-known as they should be by the current generation. I want to change that the best I can with this column—at least from those with whom I have had some personal dealings.
First off, I want to honor the late, great Ed Holder. Ed left us in 2005. He was the Outdoor Editor of the Port Arthur News for many years along with being an early leader in the Texas Outdoor Writer’s Association and a syndicated columnist.
Ed was my mentor.
From 1997 until his passing, he taught me so much about writing, photography and the way the outdoors business worked. We did not always agree on written style or delivery, but we always agreed that the outdoors should be for everyone to enjoy. We would both work hard to ensure that.
Ed was also an activist who helped conserve much land and was deeply involved with issues involving Sabine Lake. I honor Ed for being a man of integrity and for paving the way for me as an outdoor writer.
I would also like to honor Billy Halfin. Billy and I were never close. I did appear on his radio show around 22 years ago, but other than we have never spoken much. Billy however was a visible outdoor media presence in the area for many years with his weekly television appearances, radio program and various writings for magazine and newspaper.
With a jovial personality and a love for fishing and hunting, Billy Halfin is certainly someone that got Texas outdoor lovers excited about going to the field. He spent many hours pursuing game in Southeast Texas and beyond.
Keith Warren is the name you will most likely know from this list. He was known early for his incredible fishing program, “The Texas Angler.” When I was 21 years old, I wrote him a letter telling him how much I enjoyed his perspective on the great outdoors. That began a decade of adventures in the field and on the water. Keith invested time in a young wildlife journalist and took me on many adventures, which he did not have to. A few years ago I ran into him at the SHOT Show in Vegas and he told a group of men he was talking to that, “I knew Chester Moore was going to be Chester Moore before Chester Moore did.”
I will always love Keith.
I also want to honor Capt. Skip James. Skip was (and is) a bit of a renegade. He did not always do things the easy way, but he was without a doubt one of my biggest career boosters. He freely shared with me information on the ins and outs of the outdoor business that put me ahead of the game. Without Skip James there is no Chester Moore. He had that big of a positive impact on me.
I was loyal to Skip during rough times and Skip was always there for me behind the scenes and would show up in the middle of the night to help me or my family if needed. I would not be where I am today without Skip’s friendship and advice. And the flounder recovery we have seen would not be here either.
Skip and I become friends because of our love for flounders and concerns about their population. I had started writing about them intensely around 1995, and he had started lobbying for flounder conservation.
I was able to take those early lessons in promoting conservation to a new level. To this day, I keep pushing for flounder conservation.
Skip was the man who helped guide that goal in the early days and for that I honor him. He was the original “flounder man.” He is still by far the greatest flounder fisherman I have ever met.
When I think about my relationship with Skip, I think about my favorite scene in my favorite movie—Tombstone.
After a harrowing shoot-out that involved incredible heroics by Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday who in real life had tuberculosis starts violently coughing.
“You ought to be in bed Doc,” said one of his compadres.
“Wyatt Earp is my friend,” Holliday said implying he was sticking by his side until the end.
“I’ve got lots of friends,” the compadre said.
“I don’t,” Holliday said.
That’s how I feel about Skip to this day—my friend.
Honor is not about being right or wrong or agreeing on all points. It’s been recognizing people’s role in their calling in life.
All four of these men did different things worthy of honor in the Texas outdoor scene.
Who do you think is worthy of honor? We would like to know. Send us your letters at [email protected], and we will publish as many as we can in a future letters section.
Email Chester Moore at [email protected]