Commentary: This lone ranger rides to end child hunger

It's not every day that one meets a hero. And it's not every day that one graces our California coastal city of Newport Beach.

And even more uncommon is one riding horseback — with two horses in tow — on one of the most-traveled streets around, Coast Highway.

I caught up with the man, Doc Mishler, along with his three longtime horse companions: Chief Free Spirit, Justice and Charity, in a busy parking lot on Balboa Boulevard and PCH. He's an original lone ranger with silver spurs on his cowboy boots and a red kerchief around his neck.

We sat down and shared a strong cup of coffee, a chocolate chip cookie and, more importantly, he shared his story and his mission in life.

Our hero is on a mission to "raise awareness in the hope of ending child poverty in the world."

Some 35,000 children die daily of hunger.

As he says, "Every four seconds the lights in a child's eyes goes out. One thousand one, One thousand two, One thousand three, One thousand four ... "

He joyfully rides for the children and will continue to do so until the day he dies.

As he says, most people love horses and children, and many remember their first pictures on a horse or pony.

However, as he points out, "This journey is not about me; there are children in the world that are so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of food."

Doc is no stranger to illness.

He is a cancer survivor and had a quadruple bypass and total hip replacement in 2010.

He was told by doctors he would never ride again.

Nevertheless he rode from his native town, Choteau, Montana, to Washington, D.C., to address Congress, then to upstate New York to his Church Communities and then full circle riding back to Choteau. And onward across the United States of America, twice, and continues to horseback ride in this great country of ours.

His recovery stems from his strong belief in God. And as a testament to God for the miracle of life that he was given, he rides across the United States on his mission to bring awareness in the hope of eradicating child world hunger.

His story has been told many a time in print and the message is: "Can all the children be fed"?

And the answer is, "Yes, it can be done."

MIKETTE VON ISSENBERG lives in Newport Beach.

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