One should fear a world without human cannonballs. Those who are compelled to accelerate themselves through life, with only a confident guess of what they’re propelling toward, are the gems of humanity who inspire the rest of us to live life with a bit less uncertainty. Colin Samway decided at a very early age, quite literally, that he wanted to become a human cannonball.

Colin grew up living the quintessential Sun Valley childhood. He was born at Moritz Community Hospital in 1984, attended Pioneer Montessori and Hemingway Elementary schools and loved fishing the Big Wood River with his grandfather and playing in the mountains. While Colin’s larger-than-life destiny eventually led him away from the valley, his explosive momentum carried small-town roots and values along the trajectory of his life story. Over the years, Colin lived in Oregon and California, and attended school at the European Command Headquarters in Germany. In his late 20s, he decided to dedicate his life to “living for something greater than himself” by becoming an ambassador and caregiver for abandoned and abused dogs at Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans. Inspired by such legendary heroes as the boxer “Rocky” Balboa, Colin believed in fighting for those who had nothing and in blasting through obstacles to achieve his dreams—not only for himself but also for the hundreds of animals entrusted to his care, including his own dog, Roenick, adopted and bottle-fed from just a few days old.

Along the way, Colin became a self-taught jack-of-all-trades—a mountain man, an artist, a woodworker, an electrician, a welder, a blacksmith, a glassblower, a mechanic and an aspiring helicopter pilot. He was hell-bent on fixing any problem that presented itself, using his trusted tools—his heart and his hands. With these tools, he made an everlasting impact upon all those he loved and encountered. He was also our brother, son, uncle, mentor and friend and an unstoppable force of nature with a majestic mane described in the realm of females as earth-shattering “kryptonite.”

In the early morning hours of May 25, 2018, Colin sat astride his trusty steed for the last time and rode home to Valhalla. He was 34 years old. His family—parents Robert and Catherine Samway, siblings Kyl, Courtney and Peter and his nephew, Rydge Bowman—will forever love and revere him. Colin stood tall upon a pillar of benevolence and was victorious in his pursuits. To know, love and learn from him has been our honor.

Colin Samway’s Idaho celebration of love and life will be held on Sunday, July 22, from 1-5 p.m. at the Redfish Lake North Shore Picnic Area.