He would have 63 years old today; instead, he died at 23. It is ironic that a quiet, shy and gentle young man that did not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol would have his life end this way — an innocent victim of a senseless act of violence by an angry man with a gun, under the influence of street drugs and looking for revenge from the world.
He was the baby in his family, the youngest of four. The apple of his dad’s eyes, he had his mother’s kind and humble spirit. He was well loved and admired by family and friends. He planned to join the Navy when he finished his technical training. He wanted to be an aviation technician on an aircraft carrier, but a minor medical issue, crushed that dream. He couldn’t get in and was very disappointed.
He was at his parent’s house before work that day. He heard his mother scream and went out to try to talk the intruder down. He was not afraid, he knew him from growing up in the neighborhood. He thought he could reason with him, but he was shot point blank at close range.
The doctors said that for a fraction of an inch, the bullet could have gone straight through to the other side of the body with minimal damage. Instead, it hit his belt buckle and fragmented in his abdomen.
When they heard the news, donors from all over the metropolitan area flooded the hospital’s blood bank. Many were turned away because there was no more room to store the donations, but doctors could not stop the internal hemorrhaging.
He left behind a young wife, a two-year-old daughter, and a baby on the way, another daughter, born five months later.
Just before this tragedy happened, life seemed to be going as expected for this young family. He finished trade school; and landed a great job with a major airline. She worked at a prestigious teaching hospital. They bought a house in a popular development away from the city and the old neighborhood but close enough to the family to help out as needed. From one day to the next everything changed.
Each day brings its own joy and surprises, but also toil, and troubles. Treasure and make the most of each moment for we do not know what tomorrow brings.