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Commentary: Shelby speaks at Ageless Expo

"I've begun to dye my hair white!" This was a quote from the keynote presentation given by former WCCO-TV news anchor Don Shelby at the Ageless Expo Saturday at Forestview Middle School. Shelby shared his perspective on aging. He suggested rememb...

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Former WCCO-TV news anchor Don Shelby addresses the crowd at the 2015 Ageless Expo at Forestview Middle School Saturday. Submitted photo

"I've begun to dye my hair white!"

This was a quote from the keynote presentation given by former WCCO-TV news anchor Don Shelby at the Ageless Expo Saturday at Forestview Middle School.

Shelby shared his perspective on aging. He suggested remembering the thing that caused a spark as a child and to try to fulfill that dream in retirement. Think outside of the box to achieve it, Shelby said, but reconnect and make it happen.

He encouraged people to face fears without letting fear change what you want to achieve. He spoke of an Italian legend in which a young boy saved his village by crawling in the mouth of the wolf to kill it.

Shelby shared his personal journey of having a stroke, the devastation of the medical prognosis and facing the challenges of therapy and recovery. He kept his focus on what he wanted to be able to do, faced each challenge head-on and amazed the physicians with his recovery. He went back to anchoring WCCO, retiring in 2010.

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Since retiring, he wrote a book on his personal "spark," basketball, called "The Season Never Ends." He volunteers with organizations that he is passionate about and plays Mark Twain in "River Songs and Tales with Mark Twain."

Those attending the Ageless Expo enjoyed Shelby's from-the-heart sharing. He has "walked the walk" many identify with, a walk that they would not have chosen to take, but a walk there they, too, had to face the mouth of the wolf.

The Ageless Expo had a variety of exhibit booths, on-stage entertainment groups and hobby workshops. Forestview Middle School cafetorium is a great location for the annual event. Attendees were able to walk through, gain information, learn a new hobby and enjoy the stage performances. An antique and classic car show took place in the parking lot with 15 vehicles participating. Winners were selected for owner's choice and people's choice. It was a beautiful day for the nearly 600 people attending to enjoy learning, sharing and listening.

I heard a couple talking on their way out. They had once planned on helping with young students who struggle with education. Due to the life events of raising a family, they just never got around to their passion. Now, after a little encouragement, they have decided to volunteer helping kids read.

I thought to myself, "Shelby would be proud!"

DeAnn Barry is director of The Center in Brainerd

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