Ron used to make runners from opposing teams feel welcome. There was no 'us versus them' in Ron. I remember the first day I stayed at his house it felt as though we were friends for years.
I hosted Ron at nationals one year. I told him that I only had a pullout sofa, so I would take the sofa and the he could take the bed.
Ron said, "that's okay, malmo, I'll sleep on the floor."
I said, "what do you mean you'll sleep on the floor?"
He said, "I slept in the rain and mud 30 days in a row in 'Nam, I can handle your floor."
Since Ron never talked about 'nam before, and knowing that he had a couple of Purple Hearts (not John Kerry ones, real ones) I took this as an opening to press a little more. He said that he "walked point" while on patrol. The only thing I knew about "point" was from the 60s TV show "Combat" He told me that he had to roll up his pants and go barefoot to feel for trip wires.
"Ron, the jungle in SE Asia is full of poisonous snakes. Weren't you worried about getting bitten?" I asked.
"A snake can't bite you in two," he said, matter-of-factly.
If I knew then what I know now it would have been a coin-toss for my college choice.