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Opinion

Our View: Sharing stories gives life to those we’ve lost

In the blink of an eye, everything can change. 

Time often takes on the appearance of being infinite in our own lives. Each day bleeds into the next, and the gift of the present gets lost in the perpetual routine of things. 

As transient beings with no clue as to when our time will run out, it is important to reflect on what’s truly important in life so that we are careful not to waste the precious time that still remains.

In light of the recent deaths of four local men who left the world under tragic or sudden circumstances, we should let the ways in which they lived be a lesson to the rest of us. 

Described as inspiring, T.J. Sportsman, 34, was a teacher at Munhall Elementary School in St. Charles. Upon his sudden death, the community rallied, illustrating the impact Sportsman made on those around him. Purple ribbons were displayed throughout St. Charles; a GoFundMe page garnered more than $58,000 in pledges for his family; and area children set up a memorial fund lemonade stand. 

An “awesome guy,” active and athletic, Jeff Ruhl, a 56-year-old St. Charles resident, tried to inspire others to lead active lifestyles, as well. Ruhl died while participating in a cycling event that raises money for multiple sclerosis research. His stepdaughter said he lived a quality life, cared about every single person in his life and gave them as much love as possible.

Overcoming a life-altering physical ailment didn’t stop Batavia resident Dale Larson, 63, from enjoying the sport he loved. Despite having been blind since 1998, Larson was an avid golfer who coordinated golf outings to benefit causes close to his heart.

Haines Middle School Assistant Principal Robert Fraser, 39, brought joy and laughter to the lives of others. A father of four, Fraser was described by his family and students as someone dedicated to serving others. Fraser often would say, “Carpe diem.” Wise advice from a man whose wife described him as a gentle spirit who loved to live.

Even if only a memory of a person is what remains, sharing the stories of those we’ve lost will continue to give them life.

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