They called it the Hundred Year Flood because as far back as the records go Rl had never experienced so much rain over a short period of time. The entire state was declared a disaster area and our house was not spared.
You were sleeping over a friend’s house when I discovered that our basement (with years of accumulated storage) was under water. A thousand gallons of muddy water, still flowing in at a rapid rate, soaked a multitude of boxes and countless possessions. The entire mess had to be moved outside. In a minute I knew it was too much to do, even with Rachel and Mom helping.
It was 7:00am and I really didn’t want to summon you home from your sleep over, where I was sure you had not gotten much sleep, but I had no choice. I knew I couldn’t do it without your help. “Tell Gabe we need him right now. It’s an emergency,” I told Mom. You were not happy, but you never mentioned it after you arrived. You saw the disaster and you got right to work hefting boxes and hauling buckets of water up the stairs and out to the back yard.
Five hours later we finally had it under control, but now it was time for you to go to tennis practice, where you were fighting for a starting position. Your personal goals suffered that day because your family needed you.
Many times I have been able to depend on your help. Every year I get a mountain of mulch delivered and every year you shovel and haul and shovel some more until I can easily manage the rest on my own. I have never had to ask you to help me shovel the driveway, and when I offered to clear a neighbor’s driveway, you were by my side and keeping pace then, as well. And then there was the rock wall. You worked with me in the hot sun, with the sweat and the dirt and the buggy woods, prying the rocks from deep in the ground, then lifting and dragging, pushing and rolling the load back to the house. Anyone who wanted to get a glimpse of your character just had to watch the way you helped me with the wall.
You started volunteering at the hospital as a way to fulfill your community service hours for National Honor Society. You didn’t stop when you reached the required amount, you returned every week for the entire school year. You did the same thing the next year and the year after that. They loved you at the hospital Gabe. They loved your dedication, your reliability and commitment, your attitude and the way you were so happy to help them out. They use a lot of volunteers, people of all ages, but last year they selected you, Gabe, as their volunteer of the year.
You are a loyal friend.
You have been a mentor to younger students and to new volunteers
You will help anyone who needs it.
You lead by your own example and many people have recognized that.
I admire your kindness and your compassion, your friendship and your passion. You are a person I respect; a person I can count on. I am enormously proud of you and I commend you for what you have achieved and for who you are.