An Interview with Yelm’s Love Guy: Valentin Fyrst
Editor’s Note: I have been fascinated by the outpouring of support in our community by the efforts of Valentin Fyrst to bring a smile and love in support of our local businesses. So I asked if I could interview him, which follows:
1. What inspired you to craft the “LOVE” project for Yelm and vicinity?
- In March 2020 when lock-downs were announced, a friend inspired me to find a way to use my social media talents to help support local business at no cost to them. A couple of weeks later, the “love.” t-shirt popped up while I was scrolling down my news feed. Within a matter of seconds, I had formulated in my mind what was to be the beginning of it all. The first campaign called Spread the Community #love. It was all about supporting local business and inspiring others to spread love and kindness during difficult times.
2. Who or what project was your first one you promoted?
- I am not certain that they were the first singular post, as I started with posts grouping a handful of local businesses each time… but the first ever “love” picture was taken in front of The Shiplap Shop & Coffee House.
3. Was there skepticism at first from those you approached?
- As the first campaign was pictures of me wearing t-shirts of different colors, skepticism didn’t get a chance to get involved. The first campaign was during times of distancing, etc… so a couple of friends and my mother would tag along with me and take pictures around town and in neighboring townships. By the time the second campaign – #love Conquers All! – came along… community recognition was really strong and business owners were generally delighted to get involved with the campaign. All posts were consolidated on the Yelm Love Guy page in April 2021 and I continued to use that as the main platform from then on.
4. How are you received now by those you solicit?
- Generally business owners get really excited about this opportunity and to be part of something truly community centric. This has become a lot of fun.
5. What have you learned from this work and what changes have you in noticed in yourself?
- Love can be found everywhere. Every time I wear one of my love tees or hoodies it is like I am putting on a layer of joy. I literally feel a tingling in the waters of my body… confirming the research of Dr. Masaru Emoto on water and positive affirmations, etc. As for personal changes, I have found a sense of inner balance and a conduit to express the joy that has always lived within my heart. This experience went a long way to strengthen my resolve to open my heart to the Universe and express myself from a place of unconditional love… of observation without judgment.
6. What changes have you noticed in our town since you began?
- I see a lot more smiling when I walk around and have witnessed a number of acts of kindness being paid forward. It is working… love is spreading.
7. What would you like to share that I have not asked?
- I have lived around the world and of all the places I’ve visited this is the community I chose to be my own… this is the country I chose to be my own. It is truly special to me that Yelm Love Guy has significantly contributed to spread love and kindness throughout our community and helped me create ties that will last for a lifetime!
Thanks to the Yelm Love Guy for spending time with the Yelm Community Blog and sharing his inspiration and vision!