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Shelby encourages Men's Night Out crowd to face their fears

A high school aptitude test indicated that Don Shelby's talents led in one of two directions - journalism or the ministry.

Monday night at Memorial Auditorium in Wadena the news celebrity practiced both professions at the same time and his message was all about fear. Shelby's advice to the Men's Night Out crowd was to "choke the wolf."

Shelby said that in Italy long ago a folk tale arose of a young shepherd who lost the flock of sheep he had been given by his father to a wolf that lived on a hillside - a place the young shepherd had been warned to avoid because it was where a sheep-hungry wolf lived. He then stubbornly lost a second flock of sheep to the wolf and finally found himself facing the ravenous killer. Instead of running away, he jumped into the wolves' mouth, because if it was the last thing he would do in life he wanted to make the decision. The wolf was so surprised it choked to death.

Shelby won three Emmys for his broadcasting skills. He anchored WCCO's television news desk for 25 years before going into radio. Yet the dynamic figure admitted to having a "scaredy-cat gene."

"The reason I keep charging and the reason I keep driving and the reason I keep talking and the reason I keep broadcasting and, the reason I keep writing and the reason I keep trying to keep spread the word to stay active if because I am afraid of that wolf," Shelby said.

Shelby's advice was based in part on his own medical history, which includes four strokes.

The man who has climbed some of the world's tallest and toughest mountains in his quest for adventure, also knows the difficulties connected with recovering from a stroke. He had to fight his way back to the life he wanted for himself. As he was fighting his way back and turning fear into strength, he was in a sense "choking the wolf."

Shelby also talked about one of the unique and disturbing facts which the "Baby Boom" generation will have to face. Entering retirement means the end of withholding taxes but the state will soon face a $5 billion deficit every year because revenue is decreasing. The gigantic population mass arriving at retirement in the next few years will be the greatest consumers of tax money, placing a burden on younger generations.

Shelby believes that greater efficiency is the key to beating those annual deficits. Efficiency in handling money.

To illustrate he talked about the people who lived through America's Great Depression and how they had to learn and practice conservation. His grandmother never threw away a dress - it became an apron, smock or doll clothes. Shelby's dad never threw away a bent nail, screw or hinge pin. He kept them in Maxwell House coffee cans on shelves lining a wall of his shop.

"He didn't waste anything," Shelby said.

As a young man Shelby told his audience he thought his dad's coffee can idea was "the stupidest thing" he ever saw in his life. But a lifetime later the famous newsman has changed his tune. When Shelby recently had a house built for himself and the carpenter asked what he wanted in his shop, the answer he got was "shelves."