It saddened me last week to hear American Hero Louis Zamperini had passed at the age of 97. I first came to know his story when I read Laura Hillenbrand’s book Unbroken a few years ago. I highly recommend the read.
It broke my heart last Thursday when my brother called to tell me my cousin, age 38, had passed due to complications prior to surgery. He was in college when they first thought he had pneumonia, only to find out later, it was Wegener’s disease-an uncommon disease, yet 2 people in my hometown have had it. Many challenges and hospital stays through the years, trips only to find out he wasn’t a match, yet, not once did he ever complain or use his health as an excuse not to do the work that needed to be done. Three times each week, he traveled for dialysis and returned to his work to complete his day. He handled business in a manner that people trusted him. He was honest and optimistic. He chose to do the right thing, no matter what.
He cared about his family, his friends and his community. He was devoted to his wife and adored her. His pastor said he had preached his own funeral by the life he lived. His dad said he high fived him before going back. He was overjoyed to finally be a match.
I celebrate this hero. Someone who valued life, who wanted to give back to his community and encourage others as they faced challenges. He put others first. A life that seems too short. But I will never know during this lifetime the impact he had on so many.
I was blessed to have known him and share many memories in play on our grandparents’ farm as we grew up.
I have peace knowing his faith claimed an eternal home. Matthew 6:33