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McVicker learned from the 'best teacher'

By Chris Strunk
Newton Kansan

Today, it's easier for Mitch McVicker to talk about the 1997 Jeep accident that nearly killed him.

 It's easier for him to talk altogether.

 The September 1997 wreck that claimed the life of McVicker's friend and mentor Rich Mullins also left McVicker in a coma, with collapsed lungs, broken bones and severe head trauma.

 Today, it's easier for the singer and songwriter to do anything.

 "Things are going great," McVicker said in a telephone interview Thursday. "I'm traveling around doing concerts. I'm in Minneapolis right now. It's such a blessing to get to do this. I've been blessed with the ability to communicate. It's a blast as well as a blessing."

 Touring on his sophomore album, "Chasing the Horizon," after years of rehabilitation, McVicker will perform in Aug. 4 Newton.

 The 29-year-old said the experiences of the past five years have shaped his ability to communicate.

 "I'm real thankful things worked out the way they have," McVicker said. "I'm very thankful God doesn't give up on me or anyone else. He comes running down the path toward us."

 McVicker, who lives in Nashville when he's not touring, said coming to south-central Kansas is a homecoming of sorts.

 A Topeka native, McVicker played basketball for Friends University, where he met Mullins, a renowned Christian artist, who also was attending Friends.

 They began a friendship that included playing music together, living together and learning together. McVicker co-wrote three songs on Mullins' last album, "The Jesus Record," which was produced posthumously.

 Today, it's become easier to talk about Mullins, McVicker said.

 "I've figured out a little more about how to put words to it," he said. "He was a tremendous influence on me. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if I hadn't have met him."

 McVicker, who pays tribute to Mullins in his latest album, said Mullins lived a simple life, not letting anything divert his attention from his relationship with God.

 "He was authentic, compassionate," McVicker said. "He wore his heart on his sleeve. He attributed everything to God."

 McVicker learned a lot.

 "I'm trying to approach things the same way," he said.

 McVicker said he has been accused of "trying to be another Rich." And for months McVicker avoided the connection.

 Now, "I can't imagine any other way to do it," he said. "I was around the best teacher."