I knew three of the men who died in the helicopter collision in Phoenix last Friday: Rick Krolak, Jim Cox and Scott Bowerbank. I've listed them in the order I met them. In different ways, they were all bright, positive lights in my life. I learned from them. I laughed with them. I was in awe of their different talents. And even though they were three very different men, they had one thing in common: passion.
Rick, Jim and Scott were passionate about work while being equally passionate about play. They were passionate about their friends and families, but also passionate about their co-workers. I didn't know any of them to ever give less than 100% at anything they did. And they were so giving of their talents, so generous of their time.
For the record, I don't want to give the incorrect impression that I was best friends with these fine men. I think the best way to describe our relationship would be "good, work friends." Rick, Jim and Scott have many, many close friends. And, along with their loving families, the pain of their loss must be incredible because the emptiness I feel seems bottomless.
The Haffner family is devastated. I had an opportunity to visit Bruce and Lisa Saturday morning. They have lost best friends. Rick mentored Bruce in the 1980s when Bruce was a photographer. Scott mentored Bruce. We all know Scott is the man who trained Bruce to fly helicopters. Bruce was mentoring Jim. Jim had the dream of flying like Scott and Bruce.
For these three, bright lights to be snuffed out in an instant seems cruel and unimaginable. Then I close my eyes, pause and realize that their light is burning brighter today than it ever had. It is a beacon; a beacon which summons us to be greater than we are. It is a beam of hope which illuminates the way, shunning the mediocrity of apathy and indifference. It is the way they lived their lives. It is the way I can live mine.