Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Commando for Christ

Posted by todblog on December 9, 2008

December 9, 2008

bcrandyfishwebRandy Poe- Fisher of Men

This post is dedicated to the memory of a dear friend who I was blessed to have in my life for the few years that I’ve been here in Roseburg. On November 30, Randy Poe went home to be with the Lord and his death left a huge void in our hearts. Pastor Ron Laeger at Wellspring Bible Fellowship hits the nail right on the head when he describes Randy as a Commando for the Great Commission, one of God’s Navy Seals. That’s how so many people near and far will remember Randy as he traveled to many places to spread the good word that there is life after death if you believe in Jesus Christ and that he died for your sins.

Randy was also my dentist. There are a lot of dentists in Roseburg. How do you go about choosing and trusting one? I suppose you could find one by word of “filling-free” mouth. Truth is, I went without seeing a dentist for a year before I discovered Dr. Randy Poe…

We lived in town for a year, renting a house one block away from the First Conservative Baptist Church (FCBC). We were looking for a church after moving to Roseburg and weren’t sure where to go. The FCBC church was huge and busy with lots of people visiting at all times of the week. Sad to say, the name of the church detracted us from checking it out. We ended up moving out of town and buying a house in the country where we were instantly greeted by our new neighbors Bob & Emma Buri and Ray & Kaye Lehne. Guess where they all attended church? We knew then it was a God thing… move eight miles out of town to go to a church you lived a block away from. It was Ray Lehne who introduced me to Randy Poe. They were kindred spirits in that they both loved going on missions trips and if they weren’t currently on one they were planning for one. The two men both shared an intimate relationship with a wild and beautiful wonder of God; the Umpqua River. They turned that passion for the river into a father and son float trip ministry where men and boys paddle, fish, and camp overnight on the Umpqua. The church (now named Wellspring Bible Fellowship) bulletin advertised the trip as being organized by the River Rats (Ray and Randy). Everyone who attended had a great time of fellowship, relived being a kid again, and Pastor Ron couldn’t ask for a better venue to connect with dads and sons then on the banks of the Umpqua River. Young boys and men learned a lot during those two days like how to catch smallmouth bass without hooking your boat buddy, how to float through a rapids, how to cook over a fire without burning all your digits, how to make slung coffee, and that you can have a conversation with God anywhere but, being on a beautiful river somehow seems to bring you closer to Him.


Final instructions from Randy before launching Father Son Float Trip

afirepoeIt’s time to get cookin’

acorn_potatoeswebTaters and corn in the coals

coffeecansBoiling coffee over a hot bed of coals

slungcoffeewebRandy whirling coffee can like a Ferris wheel (Tennessee slung coffee)

waterpurewebLearning how to filter water from the river

ronsermonwebPastor Ron delivers the good word on the banks of the Umpqua River


Somewhere during that river trip, I knew I had found a dentist I could be comfortable with even if it meant he had to put his Chaco sandal on my chest to extract a tooth. This was the guy. What really sealed the deal for me was Randy’s love for hunting and fishing and pursuing outdoor activities with a passion. Ah, now that’s a connection… a blood brother! When I went to his office for the first time, I saw mounted game birds in the waiting room and Randy showed me a broken arrow shaft and broadhead framed with a picture of him and a bull elk he had taken during the elk archery season in the Coast Range. It hung proudly on his office wall. Combine that with his wonderful office staff and I knew I was home and this was my guy.

As a finisher in the grueling Ironman Triathlon you know Randy had to be one tough athlete. Several times a week I would see him at the end of the day riding his recumbent bicycle along Garden Valley going home from work. I would give him the double beep as I passed him and I’d see him in my rear view mirror giving me a wave and a smile. I’d always have the same thing to say each time I passed him, “What an athlete”.


Always making time to exercise

I will remember Randy for his encouraging words whenever we’d meet. His eyes would hold you with sincerity and a keen interest in your answers. His laughter was infectious as you could hear him across a large room. I will also remember Randy for his generosity towards me and my family. He was always providing us river gear so we could do things as a family and enjoy the Umpqua. I always joked about borrowing gear from the Poe Sporting Goods Store. He stressed having fun but, doing so with all the right stuff- being safe. That theme carried over to our once-in-a-lifetime canoe trip in British Columbia during the summer of 2007. What a trip that was!



Randy shared with me that he had once thought about pursuing a career in fish and wildlife but, realized in graduate school that he could do more things that he wanted to do if he switched to a career in dentistry. That’s exactly what he did. As a dentist, Randy was able to finance many mission trips and purchase travel-ready dental equipment and audio/visual gear. Randy crossed borders into remote places to care for people in need and introduced them to Christ. His stories were fascinating and he was always trying to figure out a way to reach more people. Closer to home, Randy was heavily involved with prison ministries and reached out to prisoners with the same good news.

My family only knew Randy for five years and he managed to make a very big impact on our lives. I can only imagine the countless number of others that have been touched by this man in his lifetime. He truly was a Commando for Christ, one of God’s Navy Seals. I know whenever I see a straw hat on the river I will think of the pair of sunglasses and white grin that belong underneath that brim and I will remember Randy and his love for us all. That’s my kinda guy.

Aloha Ke Akua (God Bless You) Randy!

shadrandywebShad fishin’ with Randy on the Umpqua River


3 Responses to “Commando for Christ”

  1. Kent Lucas said

    I had the pleasure of knowing Randy for about 15 years. I echo your sentiments. He was a truly remarkable guy. I spent many days with him in orisons accross the US, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. We were also privaleged to spend vacation time with him, Janice, and Chris in Puerto Rico. These are really special memories.

    Randy and I worked together on a big prison outreach in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2003. This was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Working with Randy was simplly awesome. Randy was instrumental in helping develop our current prison ministry, The Great Adventure Weekend. Kind of a fitting name for a guy like Randy. In the hall of my office hangs a collage of photos from the Monterrey project. Every time I look at it now, I loose my breath. I loved Randy Poe. When I went through some dark days in my life and ministry, it was Randy who called me almost everyday and encouraged me.

    There is so much that I want to say, but right now I just don’t have the words. To say that I will miss my friend, brother, and co-laborer is an understatement. I thank God that he allowed Randy to pour into my life and ministry.


  2. Linda Poe Martin said

    Tod, would you please send me pictures that you used on your website that I can print. Thank you for your sweet blog on my brother. My heart is broken & friends like you sharing helps so much.
    Thank you!


  3. Bill Alford said

    I, like many of you, have known Randy for a number of years. I have been into many prisons with Randy, the last being the seven prisons we visited while in Peru. Randy was an amazing man, as of all the things he could have done in life, he chose to serve our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Randy, I will miss seeing you in the prisons, but will see you again in the future.
    Bill Alford

    P.S. Give Jesus a smile for me…


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