I have had to deal with the loss of people I know these past few weeks and wonder if the same situation that I had to deal with in 2015 was repeating itself. However, we have to have faith in God and believe that he will take care of things for us. I recently lost a cousin in a motorcycle accident. A week later, I attended the memorial service for the daughter of a family friend from Dominica and now have to deal with the loss of one of our brothers, Jeff Alino. Jeff was a very close friend of DGK Mike Willemse and was one of the pilots killed in the crash at Teterboro just a few days ago.
Every day, we are reminded that those that we love will someday leave us. But what usually compounds it is the way that those dear ones leave us, unexpectedly. We do not get the opportunities to say “See You,” or “Later.” We see our loved ones lying in the casket and we are heartbroken. We ask ourselves questions trying to give some meaning to why they had to leave us so soon.
Jeff was a relatively new member at 4504 but he touched the hearts of many in that space of time. He had just completed his first degree and we were hoping that he would be part of the 2nd degree exemplification but he did not live to see it.
We have lost many brothers at 4504 but I am not sure if anyone has had to see the way that Jeff left us. For those of us who saw the videos it will continue to haunt us for a long time.
None of us knows the hour when we shall be called to stand before the throne, and that is why, as brother knights, we must strive to leave a just life; a happy life and one filled with brotherly love. The friendships and relations that we build throughout our years as “knights,” should not be taken lightly. We should always be thankful that we have an opportunity to share our blessings with others. That we can help other brothers who need the help of someone just to listen to them or just like we did this past weekend in Wildwood, to share our friendship; to participate in activities that help strengthen the bond that keeps us alive, well and kicking.
Some of our brothers may depart soon, but we have to cherish the memories. As I love to say, “Memories are Forever.” The memories of a brother’s good deed; the memories of a brother listening to another troubled brother and helping him through the storm; the memories of all the sacrifices that we all have made through the years to maintain the image of the Knights and to live by the motto. Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism and the memories of those who have touched our lives in one way or the other either through a good deed; their concern for our well-being; for their smile and confidence, like Jeff and my cousin, Sheldon, the one who died in a horrific motorcycle accident earlier this month.
Yes, we may cry. We may feel cheated. We may feel empty. We may even get angry. However, we have no control over life and death and all we, as catholic gentlemen; as members of one of the greatest groups of men throughout the world, can do, is to “have each other’s back.”
Rest in peace brothers.
Giftus John - Grand Knight