Jack Hetzel has become a staple of our community since he took on the minister’s position at First United Methodist Church of Big Sandy. It was a hot summer morning, like today, that I opened our little newspaper office, here in Big Sandy. We had only had the paper a little over a year, and both of us were a tad bit wet behind the ears. The phone rings for all kinds of reasons. News of someone dumping a box of puppies on river road, and a small classified was on the notes in my inbox. As I went to the coffee pot I noticed a tall frame step out of a hot car just outside the front door of the office. Sure on his mission, with a Texas Star on the front of his cowboy hat, here came Jack Hetzel.
Jack is in the business of saving lives. And if you talk to him, it won’t be long before you know he is well aware of his mission. His mission isn’t pushy or uncomfortable in any way. A compassionate realization that he understands where you’ve been and how you feel is a mutual respect you will glean from and understand when you meet him. But that story comes later.
Jack has been coming into the newspaper for several years now, and we have grown to enjoy each others company quite a bit. Jack is about people. And he has known quite a few people in his 96 years.
It wasn’t long after our conversations about foreign countries, current politics, the armed services, church affiliations, fishing, and family, that we narrowed in on inventions. Jack is an inventor and author, among many other talents, and he had come up with the idea of this amazing life saving tool. It is a fire hose nozzle that can change the way fires are fought and lives are saved in the world.
As of today, his invention looks even more promising. Jack has been selected to go on a new show called America’s Real Deal. Today, he gets to pitch to Kevin Harrington and Forbes Riley in front of the TV cameras. The show is being described like the next shark tank. Business owners and inventors will take their idea to the show in hopes of finding funding and publicity to move their idea to the next level, but unlike Shark Tank, there are many more options for funding, including viewer support. This new twist on a business reality show just might be the key to help Jack take his invention to the next level. And we will all be watching, Jack!