Saturday, February 22, 2014

513 Days


I can sit here and bore you with uninteresting facts about me such as I was born and raised in a city that’s famous for dropping a dead carp on New Year’s Eve. I work for a company called “Trust Point, Inc” where I am a financial planner, dabble in photography, reading Hunter S. Thompson, John Wooden and Mike Krzyzewski. I’m passionate about teaching basic personal finance, running and being on my motorcycle. But none of that’s important.

I love bringing to light and praising the accomplishments of others; and with that, I’d like to tell you about my best friend.

Even though he was 3 years younger than I, we grew up together, often going up to our family farm to help my Grandpa milk cows. He was more of a “Davey Crockett”, I was more of a “Michael Jordan”. Despite these differences, we always got along well.

After college he got a job in a small town working at a farm implement fixing tractors, combines and the like. I was working hard to finish my Master’s degree at UW-Madison and he would always stop over to my house on Sunday nights to visit, occasionally have a beer and complain about his co-workers or tell me about the farmland he was renting and raising crops on. I always knew farming was his 'dream come true', but I never told him; I was just happy to see him happy. Those were always the best days of the week for me; just him and me, shooting the breeze.
Later on, I moved to a city about an hour away but we remained as close as ever. It seemed to me the older we got, the better we got along. I was grateful and appreciative of having someone that shared my views, stories, and I could learn stuff from. He taught me about farming and I taught him about finance. Honestly, I had played out scenarios in my head of him and I growing old, drinking beer together, and complaining about how “…those damn teenagers are acting today”.

One autumn day, my fiancée was out of town so I came home from work, cracked open a beer, unknotted my tie, and my phone vibrated. “Jon’s been in an accident…don’t know much else”. Didn’t think too much of it; after all, this was the kid who rolled a 4-wheeler, flipped a snowmobile, and drove his truck into a ditch. I called the hospital where he was taken. The nurse said I should come by. I didn’t need to hear anything else. I knew.

On September 18th, 2012, my best friend, role model, confidant, and Brother was killed in a car accident. The car was driven by a 16 year old that crossed the centerline, clipped my brother’s work truck forcing it to swerve, roll, and eject him. It was 4:42pm and he was leaving a jobsite to go home for the day.

I work with Trusts, Wills, Estates, and retirement planning; never in a million years did I think I’d have to help my Father settle my brother’s Estate.

He’ll never see this e-mail, and he’d curse me up and down for talking about how great of a person he is, what a fantastic role model for my son he is, and how much I miss him. I always leaned on him when things got tough and I often feel lost and worried about living my life without him. But even though he is gone, I will forever carry on his work ethic, his caring, selfless, “give the shirt off your back” attitude. He always had time for others no matter how hectic his life got. I will forever admire that.

La Crosse, WI

P.S. Thank you Listserve Team for your hard work; I'll only ever get one chance to tell Sabrina that I love her with all my heart and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you in front of 25,000 people!

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