Two and a half years ago is when I was first formally introduced to Lucas Cameron Wolf. His mother, Mary Ellen, brought a meal over when my wife Claudia gave birth to our daughter Lucía and reminded her about her son Lucas, who was living in Nicaragua looking for non-profit work. Coincidentally, Claudia had met Lucas in 2005, the only year we all overlapped in Honduras. As my traveling wings were due to be clipped with Lucía’s arrival, Claudia insisted I meet him immediately, to interview him for my position at Trees, Water & People (TWP).
On our first international Skype call, in December 2014, I opened with a multilayered introduction of myself and the organization in unhinged, fast, Central American Spanish to see if he could keep up. Not missing a beat, Lucas replied jovially, fluently, thoughtfully, and completely. He even threw in some Central American slang to show me he wasn’t playing around. I was hooked and was convinced this was the guy I needed on my team.
His first day of work, in March 2015, we spent at a pub in Antigua, Guatemala. We had some beers, shot some billiards, and got to know each other casually with three members of a group I had brought down on a Trees, Water & People (TWP) Tour. He spent that week in the deep end, leading half of the tour group throughout the week, learning TWP history and culture on-the-fly, and confidently translating topics to which he’d never been formally introduced.
He aced it.
The truth is, from that day forward he became my right-hand man, my eyes and ears on the ground, my sounding board, my regional envoy, and TWP’s Man in Managua. He was a force of nature, taking on massive, shapeless tasks with confidence, grace, and humor. He had an incredible knack for building sincere relationships across every sector of society and would treat an 8-year-old in a Central American village with the same level of respect and gravitas that he’d reserve for an international dignitary.
To say Lucas was a man of the people is an understatement. He was a man of the cosmos, here on a mission to show us how to be kind to one another, how to work for the things that matter, and how to honor life on this planet. His legacy is a challenge to us all, to strive for the most profound experience possible in the short time we have on earth.
Lucas Wolf enriched my life from the first seconds of our relationship. He was an unflappable colleague, a dear friend to my family and me, and a conduit to a world of people, places, and ideas. I speak for my entire organization when I say that his departure leaves a gaping hole in both our personal and professional lives, from which we’ll never fully recover.
We love you, Lucas Wolf. Thank you for sharing some of your precious time with us at Trees, Water & People — you’ll always have a home here.
- Sebastian Africano