For years, I’ve walked through lot 42 on the GS campus and marveled at the mystery car. For starters, you can’t miss it. A large vehicle alone, of an unfamiliar make and model, is covered in a bright bumblebee yellow. I wanted to know one thing: Who owns it?
A winning combination of luck and curiosity answered that question rather quickly. The car consistently parks in the back lot near the Center for Wildlife Education, and fills a faculty and staff parking spot. A trip inside the Wildlife Center, and an admittedly odd request from the woman at the front desk produced the name of the owner, Wildlife Center Director, Steve Hein.
Hein, in every essence, fits this car to a T. One does not simply own an International Scout II. Hein hunts with the car six months out of the year and most notably, travels with our dear eagle, Freedom The Eagle, in the back. As it stands, Hein has been the proud owner of the car for 32 years.
“It doesn’t particularly move as smoothly as it use to move. It’s certainly not flashy. It’s better viewed from afar, but it’s been with me for a long time,” Hein said.
I had the privilege of taking the Scout for a test drive around Sweetheart Circle and can attest to the not-so-smooth movement. Turning the wheel requires some muscle, and the car pulls back and forth on the road with a mind of it’s own.
In a way, the car is exactly what one would think a Wildlife Center Director would drive. However, Hein attributes his job, his Master Falconer background, his business degree from Georgia Southern, being a wildlife artist, and his vehicle to one word: consilience.
Hein explained, “It’s the coming together of seemingly unrelated things. I’m very fortunate, but any notion that it was thought-out would be giving me far too much credit.”
A lot of love has gone into keeping the car up and running. The International Scout II has undergone a motor rebuild, two new transmissions, and two paint jobs, Hein said. He has become accustomed to the stares, questions, and compliments from passerby. However, to Hein, it is simply a car, a necessity, and a part of his life.
“I never envision it to become iconic, to be so identifiable; It’s a yellow, 40-year-old vehicle with an eagle in the back. It’s hard to go unnoticed,” Hein admitted.
Next time you’re trudging through lot 42, give the car a glance, if you haven’t already. Those strings of consilience are coming together in each of our lives and the car is a testament to one aspect of a life well lived, and now it makes sense.