One of the first times I met Torin Nelson, we were manning a booth for Howard Dean at the 9th & 9th street festival in last summer 2003.
Or, I should say, I was manning the booth. He was out walking. He was trying to walk 2,347 miles in six months to raise awareness of the Howard Dean campaign, and to raise money, getting pledges of $.01/mile.
2,347 miles is the distance from Salt Lake to New Hampshire, home of the first primary elections.
(To read more about Torin's walk-a-thon, read this article from the City Weekly)
That day I saw something in Torin that I liked. Pride. Not evil pride that we hear about in church. But Pride in the military. He had been to Guantanamo Bay in 2002, and Kuwait in 2003, making him a veteran of the Iraq war.
There was a man who came over to our table and called us anti-American, anti troop.
And Torin wasn't afraid to stand up for what he believed. Or to show his military ID card.
But, sometime that fall/winter, Torin disappeared. We didn't hear from him for a while.
Then, about a year ago, I walked past the City Weekly newsstand by the Delta Center, and I saw Torin's face staring at me. It turns out that he had been witness to a lot of the torture at various prisons in Iraq and Cuba as a private contractor working with the military. Read the article for a very fascinating story.
I tell you all this because Torin is running for Congress in Utah's District #3.