Monday, April 18, 2016

The New Normal

I think I may be getting to reflective lately, but so be it.  Yesterday, the father of one of my dearest friends (Mark) passed away.  He lost his battle with cancer - and it was a quick one.  He was diagnosed 44 days prior to his passing.  Whenever somebody passes, many of us reflect on life and then prepare for the "new normal."

A Randy Travis song states, "It's not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it's what you leave behind when you go."  Well, I can definitively say that Ed left a lot behind - a legacy of giving, service, advice, and pride.  During our junior and senior years in college, Ed often hosted barbecues at his Ukiah home and was a regular presence in our lives.  Being a retired California Highway Patrolman, he impressed upon us the value of education and loving what you do.  He often would say, "Finish your education.  Your education is the one thing in life that can never be taken from you."  I used that statement with many students I've worked with over the years - an example of Ed's legacy.

Ed with his grandchildren
In his career, Ed was a standout CHP officer.  In 1973, Ed saved an entire family (11 people) in the middle of the night as their house was on fire - they were all inside and asleep.  This video recaps the event and Ed is interviewed.  Had it not been for Ed's bravery and selfless actions, the entire family would have been wiped out.  The survivors have gone on to have their own families; and to this day, are still thankful of Ed.

I appreciated a lot of things about Ed - especially his time he always gave.  The emergence of social media has helped many of us keep in contact and I am proud to say I did keep in contact with Ed over the years - and he was always appreciative of friendships, proud of Mark's accomplishments and those of Mark's friends, and always provided good advice.

So now comes the time for the new "normal" - life without Fast Eddie from Ukiah.  He is going to be sorely missed by so many, but his legacy will always live on.  There are people who enter your life - and because they are part of your life, YOU become a better person.  I am a better person for having Ed Stamelos and his family in my life.  I know I am one of thousands of people who can state this with confidence.  Gone but never forgotten.....

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