While we were driving today (Gallup, New Mexico to Weatherford, Oklahoma), I started thinking about what I would blog from the hotel tonight. We have had quite an adventure, and there are many things to write about...and then my phone rang...
My friend was calling to ask if I had heard the news about a former coworker. He had gone to The Plunge to mountain bike with some guys from work on Sunday. He decided not to ride one of the trails they were heading to and told them he would meet them later. No one saw him after that. The first phone call was to tell me that everyone was looking for him.
The news shocked me...it had been 2 days since he was last seen (Sunday until today, Tuesday). I prayed for the best -- that he had gotten lost, disoriented, injured but not seriously, and he just couldn't get out.
After we checked into the hotel here in Weatherford, my phone rang again. It was my friend again. They found our co-worker's body. The story is still missing a lot of details, but the simple fact is that our friend/co-worker/colleague lost his life.
From then on my phone rang with people calling to see if I had heard the news. I may have left the company to move east a few weeks ago, but they are still my friends, and I still care for all my former co-workers.
Our friend who died was a wonderful person. He was full of life, had a great sense of humor, was smart and dedicated, and he will be missed extremely.
We used to call him the S.C., aka the Social Coordinator. He was always the one to round us all up for Happy Hour, and he ALWAYS paid for the first round -- even when we only had one round.
He was young -- maybe 38...he grew up on the east coast and had no family in our neck of the woods, but that didn't matter...he was a friend to all. I'm sure the plant is devestated. As I understand it, a lot of people made the trek to the desert to look for him yesterday and today. I'm thankful that the search & rescue group found the body and not one of my friends.
I feel so badly for the 2 guys who were with him. I have no idea how they are dealing with this right now.
I can't believe it...how could this have happened...it doesn't seem real. GM, we love you and will miss you tremendously.