On February 8, 2016 my boss, my best friend, my mentor, and my role model took his own life. Of course we all ask, “What could I have done differently?” Why did this happen? We question our faith, we question ourselves, and we question the world.
Allen has been gone for 6 months now and I’d be lying if I said things weren’t different. I now have to fight the impulsive funny text to him or the impulsive text to ask about what to do for my future job, or to just ask if I could come down teach a class or just to visit.
Allen definitely left his mark on me in the few short years I knew him. I just finished a summer packed full of impacting the lives of 4th, 5th and 6th graders at 4-H Summer Camp at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. Allen served as a beacon of light for 4-H and everyone that knew him knew that he loved 4-H. This summer I served as the Lead Counselor (Head Mico) and Cloverleaf Adventure Program Lead Counselor (High Ropes) at Rock Eagle and Allen had served as the Sports and Recreation Lead Counselor just a few years before. I could most definitely feel his presence as I led my 57 counselors and thousands of kids that came to camp this summer. I always tried to leave the impact on my counselors and campers that he left on me.
As the new school year approaches and new opportunities present themselves, I always go back to a piece of advice that Allen had given me when I worked for him as a counselor at Fortson 4-H Center in 2012 and 2013. He lived by the motto of “You can sleep when you’re dead.” And he truly used every single minute of every single day to better himself, his job, and his workplace. He would go to sleep at midnight in his office and wake up at 4 am just in order to squeeze more hours and more work into his day.
I seem to find a lot of him in myself each day and continue to strive and push myself to be more like him. I’m going to use his motto to push myself to do new things and to get all the experience I can in an array of different areas such as officiating high school sports, nursing experiences, and even just traveling. During the summer I came up with a mantra/quote for my counselors to use to guide them throughout the summer.
I think Michael Jackson said it best “You are not alone, I am here with you, though we’re far apart, You’re always in my heart.”
I know that Allen will always be my guardian angel and he is up in Heaven right now cheering me on to do big things in life. I know that I can attribute some of my biggest accomplishments to him and his dedication to seeing me do great things.
To read Wilson’s first piece, please click here!