No two people deal with loss and tragedy identically. In the aftermath of heartache some of us move mountains, a few of us seek refuge in the valleys, and a couple of us look upward and fly. Some of us walk around with our heartache on our sleeves while others are more prone to conceal it only to visit it in random times of weakness. Amidst the differences a commonality exits; we are all STILL HERE. Still accomplishing goals, and putting our best foot forward and hoping to succeed in the daily tasks we try to accomplish. Most of the time you couldn’t recognize one of us in a crowd. You know, the “broken,” type.
It isn’t an uncommon occurrence when high school seniors commit to join a branch of military service. Such was the case with two young men in a rural southern Utah community. The brotherhood that exited between the two was the very brotherhood that our community embraces. Their friendship and decision to devote themselves to an amazing cause united their worried mothers, their proud fathers, and the members of their small town that had walked the same path. Smokey still has a text from the day Zak took the oath of enlistment; it reads, “do it for me man.” Two days later an accident occurred that took Zak’s life. The shock and loss of the friend, who had made such an impact on his life, caused Smokey to delay his decision. A year later he looked at that same text, “do it for me man,” and his original motives for “joining,” surfaced. He did it. He took the oath. He left for basic. Now he joins a million others who wear the same uniform. Seeing him in formation, you would never know his story.