Behind Nolan Hurd’s Smile

Keep smiling - it makes people wonder what youve been up to, -Author Unknown

“Keep smiling – it makes people wonder what you’ve been up to,” -Author Unknown

Ana Gutierrez, Entertainment Editor

The Scout Law states that a Boy Scout must be brave and face danger, even if he feels afraid. He must be cheerful and try to make others happy, even if a smile is hard to find. He must be concerned about others, even when others are concerned about him.

Seven years ago, senior Nolan Hurd saw himself engulfed in flames before having to find a smile on a face he hardly recognized. Through these principles of the Scout Law, he found the courage and desire to overcome his struggles and help others do the same with struggles of their own.

“My mom said that it’s always been scary how well I cope with it,” Nolan said. “I never felt the difference even though I looked different. Once the swelling went away I was able to accept that that was me. It wasn’t going to change and I was going to be myself.”

Scars surround a side of his smile today, yet they fail to cover up the reason behind that grin.

“I smile because people notice when you smile,” Nolan said. “People notice a happy person more than a sad person. So, I try to help people out by taking the burdens off of their shoulders and making their life a little bit easier so they can go on and smile themselves.”

The energy and joy emanating from Nolan’s spirit can be seen in everything he does and heard in every word he says, all two million of them each minute. While society measures self-worth by physical appearances, Nolan appreciates the authenticity in others instead.

“Society wants people that fit a mold, but trying to be the same person as someone else makes you easily replaceable,” Nolan said. “Everybody has a story to tell, and if you let them tell it, you learn something really cool about them. People who make up their own story and convince themselves that it’s real just to be accepted are not as interesting as those who are down to earth and are themselves.”

Instead of losing part of himself in the accident, Nolan gained the courage to use that experience to reach out to others who felt like they did not measure up to society’s standards, either. He opted to shock others with his outgoing attitude rather than choosing to blend in with the background.

“It wasn’t until I got burned that I enjoyed talking to people one-on-one and getting to know them,” Nolan said. “I love helping people, so I use [my accident] to help kids overcome their own fears.”

It is Nolan’s passion for his leadership role in Scouting that drives him to spend hours on end with hyperactive boy scouts during summer camps. His favorite station is the rock wall, where he witnesses the source of a boy’s fear become the source of his smile.

“It is the kid that doesn’t want to get put on the harness, doesn’t want to put on the helmet, doesn’t want to put on the rope, doesn’t want to get on the ladder, takes two hours to be talked through rock by rock up the wall… sits up there for thirty to forty minutes…that ends up having the biggest smile in the world when he reaches the ground,” Nolan said. “The best comment in the world is when a kid comes up to me and says, ‘thank you for not giving up on me.’ It is that smile, and knowing that I made an impact in his life by teaching him to believe in himself like never before, that makes me want to stay in scouting.”

While the world expected Nolan to be ashamed, he turned strangeness into uniqueness, giving hope to all those out there who have let the things of this life limit the desires of their hearts.

“You are going to be a leader by being put into situations where you were forced to challenge yourself,” Nolan said. “If nobody pushes you then you’re never going to do anything or go anywhere.”