Ride The Carousel Of Happiness

The Silver Savior, my Airstream and interview project has taken me on many amazing journeys. One right in my little town, Nederland, Colorado where I used to live. There, in the center of town is an extraordinary sight, a fully restored carousel from 1900. Entering, I was mesmerized like a child looking at all the hand carved animals going up and down. I had to know more, and found out about Scott Harrison, the visionary behind this carousel in the mountains. He readily agreed to an interview and I became even more fascinated by the man behind the animals circling us. 
He began his story as a young Marine in Vietnam at the age of 17. He didn’t want to be in the military, but wanted to do right by the country he loved. While there, Scott had received a tiny music box that he held to his ear at night to distract him from the horror of the sounds of war going on around him. The music, Chopin’s “Tristesse,” brought him a peaceful image of a carousel in a mountain meadow, and reminded him of the music of a beautiful carousel. Scott’s dream of a mountain meadow pulled him through and ultimately to a vision that would become his calling. After rescuing the abandoned Looff carousel in Utah, he spent the next 26 years hand-carving animals to bring it back to life. Like many old carousels of the turn of the century, someone had taken all of the carved animals and left the rest in a heap in a storage building. 
Scott had never carved before, but starting with the rabbit that is now on the sign in front of the carousel, he went on to create more than 50 one-of-a-kind animals, 35 of which can be ridden. As he was finishing, he created a nonprofit organization, and the small community of Nederland (then with a population of 1,500) came together to raise the $700,000 needed to build it a home. His dream had become a reality, which in the beginning had no money, no animals and no experience carving, only a dream that began somewhere in Vietnam amid bombing.
The Carousel of Happiness opened on Memorial Day 2010 with a silent memorial to recognize the service of fallen veterans, including two of Scott’s Marine Corps friends. You will find their pictures and their American flags framed on the wall inside the Carousel of Happiness.
When Scott and I finished filming and chatting, he gave me a long hug, looked me in the eye, and said, “I like this project (the Silver Savior). “You go out and spread the word of joy, faith and happiness”. Both of us were welled up with tears. We both felt the urgency of spreading faith, hope, happiness and joy in a world so painful and beautiful.
Scott’s story is so significant to me and it is my wish to share with you for several reasons. We, like Scott when he was a young man, are in the midst of some dark times in our country, and it won’t be the last. What Scott did though, was that he took the devastation and sorrow of war and losing his buddies, and turned his dark times into joy that is now shared with the world. The Carousel of Happiness has now seen well over a million riders and more watching happily on, both young and old.  
Scott literally has transformed the pain of being human to the JOY of being human. I mean, how can you not love this man, his mission even written on the wall: The Carousel of Happiness is dedicated to inspiring happiness, well-being, and service to others through stories and experiences. 
As Scott walked away, I bought my ticket to ride, jumped on my animal of choice, the horse, and rode. Beaming all the way around, up and down, again and again.
We are all old souls carving our way to our destiny and our calling.
Thank you, Scott, for your unending service,
Nancy + Team Sweet Bird