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Life after the accident

This site has documented my journey from a near fatal motorcycle that left me partly paralyzed. I am now living and doing the work of the lord in the Philippines. The lat[...] read about page

Latest journal entry

Dad's Eulogy

Hi friends and family, Thanks to all of you who have supported our family through the sickness and death of my dad. Here is the Eulogy I wrote for dad's second service in the desert. I hope it brings him honor and allows you to know him better.... Dad will always be known as a loving husband, father, sibling, son and friend. His legacy is one of sacrificial love. He truly put every person’s wants and needs before his own. He sacrificed for all people, which is the definition of love. John 3:16 ‘God so loved the world that He gave’ or ‘That He sacrificed His only Son.’ God showed us His great love by sacrificing what was most important to Himself. This loving sacrifice is what defined dad’s life, it is his legacy. If anyone has had a relationship with him for any significant amount of time, it was long enough for him to put your wants and needs before his own. Dad was many things. He was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a sibling, an uncle, a son and friend. He was a coach, an employer, a contractor and a Deacon in the Church. He was a surfer, a hiker, an athlete, and musician. Most of all, and most important to dad he was a child of God. In all his identities and in every situation, one characteristic stayed the same; dad sacrificed himself for others and truly saw their wants and needs as more valuable than his own. Philippians CH. 2 Says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Sacrificing self, our rights, our privileges, our wants, our needs, our finances, our comfort, our time, our talents our skills, and ultimately our life, for God and for others is the Mind of Christ and it is the way dad lived his life. Let’s take a moment and think of a time when dad sacrificed for you… Here are a just a few examples of the way he lived his faith: As an employer and business man, dad was noticeably different in the way he conducted business than what is the normal standards in the construction trade and business in general. His greatest concerns were the satisfaction of the clients and the prosperity of his employees. What made dad so different was the measures he would take to insure this. Dad would often time’s work for free in order for his sub-contractors to be paid well and on time. He would frequently work for free long after a job was completed in an attempt to show the clients that their satisfaction was his top priority. Many of his subcontractors feel indebted to him for his loyalty and care. He literally put food on the table for many people during the recession. Several of dad's employs had tears in theirs eyes when they heard of dad's condition and this was before we knew he was terminal. One sub-contractor in particular broke into tears as he explained that dad gave him work and put food on his families table for many years. Likewise, as a gesture of his greatfullness and friendship, Renaldo, dad's painter, painted dad's entire house for free and drove all the way to Santa Cruz with his wife and son to attend dad's first memorial service.This was dad the business man. He cared for those he worked with on a personal level, as if they were family. He cared for their prosperity and he was willing to sacrifice everything for it. The tears of dad’s employees in a trade of tough men and women is a testimony to the way he conducted himself in work and business. Here is a look into dad’s heart, he wrote this on a sticky note: "Lord I want your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else, amen" Dad's greatest concern was God's will in his life. He knew that God willed for him to reflect the Love of God towards all people and that's what he did in his work and life. A big part of what made dad the man we knew was coaching volleyball. Coach Gary spent years pouring his life into young volleyball players and their families. His driving force behind coaching was to shape the character of his players and have a lasting impact on their lives. Dad saw great importance in coaching the younger teams. He knew the influential stage of development the younger players were in and he felt that this is where he could make the biggest and longest lasting impact on their lives. It's not that dad was not capable of coaching varsity, he took the Blackhawks to a CIF championship the one year he coached varsity; an accomplishment that is dads alone. He and the whole family had so much fun that year. The media coverage, the packed out crowds, the overwhelming school support, and the excitement of doing something that had never been done before; truly an unforgettable year in the chapter of dad's coaching career. He believed, however, that he could have the greatest impact coaching the younger teams and he was willing to sacrifice all of himself to make that impact. Dad loved coaching and he loved all those who were involved over the years. Another big part of dad’s life, for as long as I can remember is his service to the Church. He served in many different ways. He ran sound, played on the worship team, set up and broke down the stage before and after service and much more. One of the more recent Churches dad was a part of is a great example. The Church was in a transitioning stage and had no building to gather in. Every Sunday, all the chairs, stage equipment and sound, needed to be set up in a temporary space and taken down till the next Sunday. This was right up dad’s ally. Every Sunday he drove the trailer to the location, unloaded the Church, set up sound, ran sound as the sound man and then packed it all up after service and stored the trailer at his house. Serving the Church was a major part of who dad was, he believed that serving the Church with his gifts was part of his Christian duty. Dad was a kind and generous man. He never had much money, but that did not stop him from giving what he had. He faithfully tithed till his last breath. He would give to family, friends, missionaries, non profits, kids in Africa and anyone else he saw in need. I heard a saying that goes something like this, ‘If you want to see into somebody’s heart, look where their money is being spent.’ Here is what is absolutely remarkable about dad’s sacrificial giving. He never gave, weather it was time, effort, or money out of excess. Everything he gave coasted him something. Jesus was sitting in the temple watching the crowds give their tithes. He noticed several rich men put in large amounts and a widow who put in only a couple copper coins. Jesus calls out to his disciples and explains to them that the widow, who only gave a couple small copper coins, gave more than the rich men because she gave all she had; dad never gave out of excess, he always gave all he had. When dad gave money he was giving up the things he loved to do. He could have surfed and bought boards, he could have taken time off and gone camping, he could have had a nice work truck, or had more money in savings, but he gave all he had, even during the last days of his life. I heard dad say this about a week before he died, ‘I love to give, it makes me happy.’ The way he gave all he had over and over is a rare quality, but the fact that it actually brought him joy to give up the things he loved to do and needed, to give to someone else, is remarkable. It is dad’s sacrificial love as a father that I know best. Most of my earliest memories are memories of his love. One early memory comes to mind. Dad was having a barbeque with his friends in the house I was born in. He was the life of the party, the coolest guy around. What I recall most, is the way he included me with his friends. He gave me a nick name, calling me ‘Squid” and “Squid bate.” There was no need for dad to take care of me. We were at my house and my mom was there as well. It was his time with his friends. But he wanted me with him. He had me sit next to him while he laughed and joked with his friends. I will never forget the way I felt that day. Similarly, when I was round 6 years old dad bought me a guitar. He let me go and practice with the Retreds, a band that he played bass for. The band was practicing for a big event called, Carols in the Round. During the event, I was introduced as one of the Retreds and played my little guitar next to dad. I was so proud that day to be his son. In 2007 I was in a near death motorcycle accident. I was in bad shape, bleeding to death very quickly. I was coming in and out of consciences by the time the ambulance arrived at the Emergency Room. As they rushed me into the ER I heard my dad yell my name. I put my arm up and he grabbed it saying, “Caleb I love you, everything is going to be ok.” I spent the next month recovering in the hospital. Every day I woke up to dad reading his Bible and doing devotion before he went to work. Just a year and a half ago my wife and me were in the biggest hurricane to touch land in recorded history. I was very, very sick during the storm and as soon as the storm began to die down, I had a bad seizure. There was no way of getting the medical attention I badly needed; my wife and me were helpless. Dad did not know I was so sick and needed immediate medical attention. He later told me, however, that as soon as he found out that the storm was going to hit my island he had made up his mind that he was going. I was much sicker than dad could have known and as it turned out dad was much sicker than any of us would begin to understand. So, with late stage cancer, dad got on a 13hour plane ride to Manila. Then he traveled 10 more hours from Manila to the island of Cebu. Then he got on a 4 hour boat ride to Western Samar, the island I was on. Lastly, he had to drive an old motorcycle 8 more hours in the tropical sun and on hurricane ravaged dirt roads to reach Cris Ann and me. After 35 plus hours of travel, he finally arrived and we embraced for the first time in two years. The next day, my dad, my wife and I needed to travel 24 straight hours to Manila for medical attention. The only available means of transportation was an old, over crowded bus with no air conditioning. The bus traveled 24 hours straight with only a few short stops. It was very difficult for all of us and something dad talked about often. This was the kind of loving dad he was. It did not matter how sick he was, he was going to save Cris Ann and I no matter what he had to sacrifice, including his life. Because of him, my wife and I are here today. If he did not make those sacrifices we most likely would not be. Thank you dad! Thank you so, so, much for being a loving father. What is most important, however, is the reason dad was who he was. Before dad is a loving husband and father, a loving friend and coach, he is a loving child of God. Dad tirelessly sought after God his whole life. Every day, before the sun would rise he was reading his Bible and talking to God. Day in and day out, no matter what was going on in his life he started his morning seeking after God. I remember, as a child, picking up one of dad’s Bible’s and saying ‘this is impossible to read through!’ Dad looked at me and said no its not’ I’ve read it several times.’ I knew then as a child, that dad was really committed to looking for something in those pages. He always had Christian sermons and music playing in the car. He was involved in men’s Bible studies, ran a small group, was a Deacon in the Church and more. What dad found made him who he was. He found a God who gave him everything when he deserved nothing. He found a God that lived the life he was required to live and died the death he was required to die. Dad understood on a deep intimate level that God gave him everything so how could dad not give everything to others. He knew Jesus intimately because he tirelessly sought after Him. This is not just a big part of who dad was, it is the foundation of everything he was. There was no part of dad’s life that was not deeply touched by his relationship with his Lord. Everything dad found from his years of seeking God made him who he was. The greatest example dad left with us is his heart for God. If we want to honor dad the way he would want to be honored then do as he did, seek after God. Weather you have faith, or no faith, a young faith or an old faith, seek the face of God in Christ Jesus. This is dad’s final wish.