Unique journey leads to special video about heroes

By Todd Moen, Editor

Sometimes, things just fall together in such a way that you couldn’t have planned it any better. This was the case for singer Cindy Nelson of Waconia, who earlier this year was looking to produce her first music video in conjunction with "Ready To Follow," her first CD of original contemporary Christian music that she released last year.

For the video, she chose her song "My Hero," a song about Jesus being a hero.

"The idea for the song came from my husband, Jim, who loves epic movies like ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Braveheart,’" Cindy said.

"I love those movies and since I try to help think of song ideas for her, I thought, you should write a song about Jesus being a hero," Jim said.

Initially, the idea for the video was to alternate scenes of Cindy singing at the piano with images of Jesus and people who are considered heroes, people like coaches, teachers, police officers, firefighters, parents, etc., and show rescues and similar clips.

It was all going well … until they learned that receiving permission from news stations to use the hero-themed clips they had found was nearly impossible. In addition, they had collected so many images that it became clear they needed to narrow the focus of the video.

"We had all these pictures and we weren’t sure how to put them together in a way that wasn’t totally random," Jim said. "We needed a quote or something to tie it all together, like in ‘Gladiator,’ where he says, ‘what we do in life echoes in eternity.’ It was good, but not perfect."

With momentum at a sudden halt, the Nelsons contemplated what to do next.

It was then that Jim, who had been looking to upgrade his truck, had a chance conversation about the video with a truck salesman, who suggested John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

"It hit me – BOOM! – that’s it," Jim said.

Although the Nelsons still think that coaches and teachers, etc., are heroic people, they decided to focus the video on those who put their well being on the line, such as soldiers, police officers, firefighters, etc., along with their greatest hero, Jesus.

As things were starting to come together, the Nelsons came across a photo taken by Frank Glick of an eagle perched on a gravestone at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

"When we saw the eagle picture, a light bulb went off," Cindy said. "Jim’s parents had given us a copy of it because his grandpa’s grave is in the photo."

After meeting with Glick, who gave them permission to use the photo in the video, the Nelsons felt like they were ready to finish the video, which was produced at TKO Productions in Eden Prairie in February and finished in March. It can be viewed on You Tube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FJzOmwKgR0.

"We kind of felt like the whole concept for the video turned out to be inspired by divine intervention," said Jim, noting the random nature of how it all came together.

Cindy said her first music video experience was a lot of fun but challenging.

"I was very green," she said, noting they shot the scenes of her playing the piano at her church, Westwood Church in Excelsior. "It was a really neat experience."

As a finished product, the Nelsons feel the video really honors military veterans.

"We’ve had people come up to us in tears after seeing the video, especially after seeing the eagle photo," Jim said.

Cindy encouraged people to share the video with veterans, their churches or other areas of ministry, and with anyone they consider to be a hero.

"It’s neat how it became more than we initially expected," she said, recalling a recent experience she had at a senior center in Chanhassen. "Through my church, we were asked to provide worship services and I was asked to give a message."

After talking about heroes and sharing Glick’s photo, Cindy asked if anyone in the crowd was a veteran. She ended up talking with a man afterwards who was so overcome by the talk and seeing the photo that he could barely talk to her.

"It has been a really neat experience," she said.