The Kind of Guy That Would Wait Around
"The friend that would pick you up from the airport, wait around for a couple of hours because you told him the wrong flight time, and still be there when the plane landed to greet you with a smile and comforting words"
Those are the words written by a fellow marine about Kyle Renehan in this touching tribute that I found online today. Every year, I make it a point to look back on Memorial Day and December 9 (the day he passed), remember him, and share a thought or something about him. What's really cool is every year I discover something new - another person somewhere out there in the world that knew Kyle, and saw the light that shined from this special soul.
Kyle was taken from the world when he was just 21 years old. Serving as a Marine in Iraq, a mortar attack inflicted damage that he just couldn't get through - but in true Kyle spirit, he managed to stick around for a few days to be airlifted to Germany and stayed with the world long enough for his family to get there and say their goodbyes.
So who was Kyle? He was a high school classmate - like me, he moved to Oxford, PA from out of the area. We were both athletes, shared study hall, and worked together at a retirement home for a few years before he shipped off to the Marines. I don't think I ever saw the guy get angry. Hell, I don't think I ever saw him without a smile on his face - he loved his family, loved his friends, loved his country, and loved life. After he left for the Marines, we'd keep in touch regularly (thanks AOL AIM!!!) and he always seemed to be doing well - one of his goals in life was to be a Marine, so even in 100+ degree temps, carrying gear around, bored on a base most of the time, he was living out his dream.
There were a lot of really special things about Kyle - like me, he wasn't the biggest guy. But when football practice rolled around, he wouldn't hesitate to take on (and sometimes, take out) the biggest guy. He was strong - in physical strength and mentally. He was someone you could count on - to help, or just to pick you up on a day when things were down. He was the type of guy that the world could use more of.
Keep in mind this Memorial Day weekend, that there are hundreds, even thousands, of other Kyles. People who lived their dream of service. People who wanted to be their best every day, continue to get better, and were willing to put in the work to do it - the DOERS, not talkers. Say a prayer for them, remember them, and if you knew them personally, share a story, and let someone else know about them. Honor their life. And celebrate the hell out of Memorial Day - - yes, it's OK to laugh, BBQ, drink, play, and enjoy the company of others. It's what Kyle would want. It's the life we're blessed to live that he went to Iraq for. Just make sure to remember Kyle, and all of the others that we celebrate this weekend.