Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hero Breakfast

Jacob Kirkendall and Greg Hansen honored as Red Cross heroes

That's the current newspaper headline.

This morning we were able to attend the "Santa Cruz County Red Cross Local Heroes Breakfast." We found out in April that Jake was nominated as youth hero and was asked if Jake would accept. The very cool part of it is that Jake would be awarded this along with Greg Hansen, our dear friend and Jacob Saver. Greg was recognized as the Rescue Professional Hero. Each recipient was interviewed on video with their story which was played just before they were recognized. Greg and Jake were interviewed together at the fire station, telling their story - one so many of us know so well. The tears came back for me as I am so thankful, incredibly grateful for Jake's life, his healing, friendship with Greg, and his future. I am so proud of him.

One of the things that I noticed this morning was a common theme among those honored. To one degree or another, each hero seemed to deflect some of the praise as they told of others that supported them, encouraged them, inspired them. So often we hold up individuals as heroes and yet as we have found over and over again - it is the community. Sorry if that seems to be a broken record but each step we take points this out again and again. As I pursue chaplaincy, I do not do it alone...I do not want to do it alone. I will get to be in the trauma units and ER with patients and families, being the hands and feet of and offering prayers of encouragement with a community behind me. Jake is going to be able to be a counselor at a burn camp for youth. But he does not go alone; he has this entire community behind him who have supported us and prayed for us and encouraged us. WE ARE BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING.

Check out the links below on the breakfast and all of the heroes.

Santa Cruz Sentinel Article Click here
Red Cross Heroes Page Click here

Grace and Peace,

Tom (daddy)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Jacob

On this day, May 17th 1992, Jacob Kirkendall was born.

The incredible thing about him turning 18 is the realization that he almost did not make it past 17. Here we are celebrating his LIFE...enjoying his LIFE...being so thankful for his LIFE. Andy Lewis, pastor at Faith Community Church, reminded me on Sunday that God desires for us to pause and celebrate, reflect, rejoice and remember the incredible way that he works in our lives...the blessings that we have received. Today I can honestly say that throughout this day I remembered. Jake and I went to breakfast - a father-son tradition since Rob, Jake and Jensen were toddlers. Just a normal day eating and sharing enjoying each other. Then Jake and I went about our day. But as I drove around for the Census I kept remembering the gift of Life we have been given. I went into the bank and told the teller that it was my sons birthday - not just any day - a birthday that he almost did not make it to - she had heard of Jake's story. Somehow this has shaped us and the story continues to come out. 

There is more to come over the next days as we celebrate together - birthdays and graduations - times to pause and remember, reflect and be so very thankful. 

I have said it so often but please know that we are continually thankful for each of you and the support, encouragement that you have shared with us. You have taught me what the Body of Christ is all about. You have modeled for me the ministry that I want to unfold for others - to surround those that are in the midst of their tragedy, praying for them, caring for them, and helping them to grip hope a little bit tighter. 

On Wednesday Jake will be receiving a hero award from the Santa Cruz Red Cross for attempting to put out the fire. Greg Hansen will also be recognized for rescuing Jake. They have a friendship - a bound that will continue as they continue to help others. Then on June 3rd Jake will graduate from Aptos High School. He had 5 classes to finish. He only has about 20% of 5th class left. It was done by computer as independent study. At first I was pretty involved in helping. Now Jake is on his own - even meeting with his teacher on his own. Then on June 11th Jake leaves for Champ Camp. He will be a CIT (Counselor in Training) for this camp for children ages 8 - 15 who are survivors. This is going to be an incredible experience for him. 

There is a lot going on as Jensen's birthday is coming up too (13) as well has his graduation from 6th grade. Amazing opportunities to pause and celebrate. 

So much to be grateful for, 

Tom (daddy)