Add as Friend…

I looked up an old friend in Facebook yesterday and clicked ‘add as friend’ as I have hundreds of times before. The difference this time is, I know he’ll never accept. Why? Zach’s life was cut tragically short on Tuesday while he was doing what he loved best on this earth; flying…

Zach’s facebook profile picture; doing what he loved best…

Firefighting News covers it here, although his name is not mentioned. Details on the accident are sketchy…

“The Lockheed P2V-7 aircraft on the way to drop retardant on a California wildfire was between 100 and 300 feet off the ground when it crashed less than 2 miles from the Reno-Stead Airport on Monday evening, said Tom Little, lead investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.

Little said nothing indicates pilot error played a role in the crash, which brings to 27 the number of deaths in fatal crashes of firefighting air tankers in the U.S. since 1991.” Source: Official: Jet engine on fire before tanker crashed – USATODAY.com

My buddy Craig Hairrell and I were talking about this yesterday as we pored over the reports across the internet over the phone. You read this stuff in the headlines every day, but once in a blue moon it means something to YOU personally.

Zach was a young man of the most exceptional character and potential. We both attended Morningstar Community Church in Aurora, IL when I lived there and we would still visit from time to time when we came back to town to visit family. Later, when I was engaged by LoPresti Aviation on a couple of projects and he was a student at Moody Bible Institute’s Aviation School we would seek each other out after services and talk flying. He was living my dream; young, handsome, gifted, a bright career in aviation ahead of him. His eyes would shine as he shared details about the program and I would hang on every word. All that is over now…

All except the eternal part — the part that really counts. You see, Zach knew Jesus Christ in a personal way and it showed in everything he did. His salvation and eternity are secure. Still, my heart breaks for his parents, Marci and Steve, and the temporary loss they most certainly feel until they are reunited with him in glory. Until then, I imagine that Zach will be testing a new set of wings — one that will never fail him…

Moral of the story? You’ve heard it before. Life is short. As Shakespeare said in Hamlet “Those friends thou hast and their adoption tried grapple to thy soul with hoops of steel”. In other words, ‘add as friend’ while you still can…

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