Paul Walker made a difference before it was too late. He had witnessed firsthand the fragility of life and chose to do something to serve others. His non-profit charity benefiting victims of natural disasters, Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW), was well established before his untimely death. Walker was a man dedicated to helping others, kept a quiet profile and enjoyed life. He was a true humanitarian who just happened to be a good looking, talented actor.
Walker was a man of many interests, although he was best known for his role as Brian O’Conner in the Fast and Furious franchise of movies. Tragically losing his life in a fiery crash along with his pal Roger Rodas on Nov. 30, Walker will be long remembered for more than his acting skills.
Growing up in Glendale, California, and the oldest of five children, Walker was raised as a Latter Day Saint. He clung to the family values he was taught in the Mormon faith and developed a passion for the world beyond his own. Not wanting to be locked into a specific regimen of religion, Walker went on to be a non-denominational Christian in his adult life. He believed in God and appreciated nature without the rules and routines of a certain church. His openness of acceptance was refreshing and inviting as he charted his own life of meaning without judgment, but with purpose.
Although not marrying, Walker fell in love for a time and was blessed with a daughter named Meadow Rain. Her beautiful name reflected his love for nature and he was excited to be reconnecting with her in recent years. Walker, an avid surfer and snowboarder, never questioned the existence of a creator, enjoying the earth’s beauty in sunshine, water and snow.
He respected the essence of nature in all forms and had studied marine biology in his younger years. Even though his acting pursuits were paying off, Walker returned to his first love of the ocean and joined a crew to film National Geographic’s Expedition Great White. He actively participated on the ship off the coast of Mexico tracking and tagging great white sharks and studying their behavior. It was a dream come true for Walker and the film was released in 2010.
Walker’s greatest achievement was founding ROWW and getting involved with the nitty, gritty work that needed to be done in the world. He gathered skilled workers trained in nursing and rebuilding areas of the world affected by natural disasters. He traveled the world to help victims get re-established after earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. He chopped down trees and hauled water in areas destroyed by tornadoes in the U.S., and he was working on relief to aid The Philippines from the recent typhoon, when his life took a turn for the worst.
The fate of Fast and Furious 7 has been put on hold as a replacement for Walker is found. Possibly taking his role could be his look-alike brother, Cody. The real loss is Walker as a person and humanitarian of the world. His legacy will live on with the work he did to make a difference before it was too late. Walker enjoyed his life, as others have enjoyed his talents and good deeds. His foundation will live on through donations, sales of merchandise and awareness of avenues to help. The spirit of Paul Walker will live on through his films, and his message of hope and kindness of helping others has made a real difference.
By Roanne H. FitzGibbon