Thank You, What an Amazing Day!
I wasn't sure what to expect at dad's Celebration of Life, but today exceeded every expectation I could have had.
It started Saturday, when Coach Crowell, Adam Colombo, Craig Lawrence, Andy Faust, Mike Faust, and Rick Smith went to the gym to get out the center piece of the mat and place it in the middle of the gym. Adam told me about Friday's Booster Club Golf Outing and the people who were there and we also talked about his 2006-2007 Team State Championship medal he wanted dad to have and what we planned to do with it. Afterward, Coach, Adam, and I added some stanchions around the mat and made some tweaks to the lobby set-up. We also talked for quite a while and it was a conversation that I'm glad we all had.
After finishing setting up the gym on Sunday morning with pictures, memorabilia, testimonials, and "Rayisms" we returned at noon to meet with family. As we pulled up to the stop sign at the tennis courts, I noticed a fire/police vehicle parked at the intersection, and I have to admit, it choked me up that it was felt that was needed. My dad's brother and sister and their families along with my mom and in-law's families were all there.
The family was able to walk through and in the background the music of Trevor Gordon Hall's "Finding My Way" played.
By 12:30 people were beginning to arrive and we opened the doors early. About this time, a special surprise arrived in the form of a family portrait done by a Parkland HS senior, who had my brother in class. It was apparently arranged by his team and coordinated by Jon Trenge. Incredible.
We met both her and her mother and couldn't thank her enough for this gift.
With people arriving we moved to the lobby and spent the next five hours greeting people who waited up until two and a half hours to work their way through the line. Many people told us how it was like the best reunion they could imagine. Former teammates, friends, and strangers shared stories and talked and told us it was an amazing tribute to a great man.
While I enjoyed speaking to everyone in the lobby as his son, there was also a part of me that wanted to be mixed in the gym with everyone else as a wrestler of his after reading all the accounts on Facebook of how great it was being there today.
I still find it hard to believe how many people came out and as one person noted for every one here there are ten or more who wish they could be.
Simply thank you to everyone, I have no other words.
The Express-Times has an article on the event.
Service Electric also was there and is supposed to have it broadcast Monday on their sports show, I believe 6:00 p.m.