Thank You, Corey

I attended a funeral today. Tough one to say the least. A young man gone at the age of 21. Sadness can not even begin to describe it. His family, his friends, his brothers were crushed.

I didn’t know Corey well. He was a friend of my daughter’s. I knew him as a high school athlete and had seen him around the gym after he graduated. He was a close friend of my daughter but more so after the ‘driving’ days when you begin to see your own kids less and less.

Today I felt like I had missed a tremendous opportunity to get to know a true, genuine human being a little better. Today, Corey’s life taught me a few things. Today I cried for his hurting family and his tight group of friends and brothers but I knew in my heart that Corey taught us all something today.

Today Corey reminded me to live my life to the fullest. To hear people talk about him, to read the newspaper articles and social media posts, for a 21 year old, this guy lived a very full life. Fraternity life, college student, hunter, mudder, cross fitter, charity work, school groups. Just an amazing life all the way around. Thanks for the lesson.

Not only did Corey participate in life, he apparently did it with drive, passion and zeal. The things he loved he pursued to the greatest of his ability. Shy guy – becomes officer in a college club. Grow up in a rural, white school – joins a fraternity that is primarily composed of black students. Want to get fit – starts crossfitting and not only excels but teach others the sport. Tired of running slow – runs in a weighted jacket to get faster. Go to college – crushes the dean’s list. This guy not only had strong passion, he had to have strong mental and intestinal fortitude. Today Corey reminded me to be more passionate and and don’t shy away from a challenge.

Corey doesn’t know it but over the last year he was preparing to give us the best gift of all. Today in rural, central Pennsylvania three young black men stood up and spoke of Corey like a brother. In fact he was their brother. Brothers of Phi Beta Sigma. They reminded us all of what a great guy he was. How he truly was a brother to them. How he lifted them up and how he challenged them to be better people.

I don’t usually have the habit of describing people by the color of their skin but in this context it is important. There’s an old political saying describing Pennsylvania as Pittsburgh on the west, Philly on the east and everything in between is Alabama. These three gentlemen were sitting smack dab in the middle of Alabama and connecting with people of every color, age, and background like no one else possibly could. I began to think that Corey had a grand plan and was looking down smiling about his two worlds colliding and sitting together in his honor. It wasn’t long but it was a powerful sight, an overwhelming feeling.

Thank you, Corey, for that one last gift.

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