I worried the first time my brother went to serve his tour in Kuwait. While we Skyped and talked on a regular basis, I couldn’t understand how his wife and daughter got through everyday. And our family will worry again as he heads back for a second tour in November.
But I never had a personal loss in this war until this week. My high school classmate, band member, co-conspirator, study partner and friend was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan on Tuesday, July 2. Kurt had just returned to Afghan after a trip home for his parents 50th wedding anniversary and to get engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Jackie.
Like so many, Kurt and I lost touch after high school. I went on to college and moved away from our home town. Kurt became an Eaton Police officer and then a Preble County Sheriff; a job he willingly gave up when cuts were coming so that another officer with a family could keep his job. Kurt went on to become a contractor training police officers in Afghan.
I remember Kurt as the friend who was always there. A super sweet guy who would listen to any story, always take your side and had a million-watt smile. We had some great adventures together like the time we snuck out to see a band play at another school, coming up with my crazy Dracula costume for the band’s annual Halloween show and our trip to Florida senior year.
I love that we had a chance to reconnect through Facebook in the last few years. While he was all over the world vacationing with his girlfriend, I was here 30ish miles from our hometown starting a family farm. A fact that gave Kurt much amusement! Having a chance to get to know him again is even more meaningful now. And isn’t that how it always goes.
So, I will make the trip to Eaton today to say good-bye to an old friend. The notes and posts on his Facebook page speak volumes of the kind of guy Kurt was. He will be missed by old friends and new. I hope that his family finds some peace in the hundreds of people who have shared a story, came out for the processional and I am sure will be at the church this evening.
I will always remember you, Kurt. Keep smilin’ and I’ll see you again.