“This one’s for you Bud”
My wife Debbie and I arrived in California on Wednesday, December 2, 2015. It was the day of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. We stayed in Whittier, about a 45-minute drive to where this tragedy unfolded. Fourteen people lost their lives that day – 14 people who did nothing to deserve this, and who probably thought they had many years left on this planet.
Those 14 were real people, with names, and each had people who loved them, and who are now heart-broken. Their tears, questions, confusion, and anger are not unlike yours and mine when we experience loss. The victims ranged in age from 26 to 60. They were from many different nationalities, backgrounds, skin color, religious beliefs, and I am sure held different views on politics, sports, fashion, movies, music, etc. But they each had one thing in common – a broken heart.
The day we arrived, a friend who lives close to San Bernardino, one who had lost a son and attended a Spark of Life retreat about a year ago, called us and told us that she was at the hotel where the families of the victims were taken to find out if their loved ones were alive or dead. She heard their cries of anguish. Later that day, she went up to the Coroner Deputy Director who was in charge, and told him that she would help if he needed her. She told him that she had lost a son, and had attended a Spark of Life retreat, which had helped her immensely.
After hearing about Spark of Life, he asked her a question – “And why haven’t I heard about Spark of Life? I need to know about this organization.”
A few days later, I was sitting in his office, and for an hour we talked about the horrific attack, the hurting families, and about Spark of Life. He was amazed at what we do, but I was amazed about what he had done for almost 32 years – working with families who were crushed by loss. I found out that the San Bernardino Coroners Office handled 9,987 deaths in 2015, which is 27 deaths a day! And this man they call ‘Bud’ became another hero of mine, because it was obvious that he cared. And now he will share Spark of Life with families that he works with.
Pray for the families and friends of: Robert Adams, 40 – Isaac Amanios, 60 – Bennetta Betbadal, 46 – Harry Bowman, 46 – Sierra Clayborn, 27 – Juan Espinoza, 50 – Aurora Godoy, 26 – Shannon Johnson, 45 – Larry Daniel Kaufman, 42 – Damian Meins, 58 – Tin Nguyen, 31 – Nicholas Thalasinos, 52 – Yvette Velasco, 27 – and Michael Wetzel, 37.
And pray for Bud, and for all those who work those jobs few of us want. May their example teach us all to care a little more.