Cherish What You Have
On Thursday, July 7, 2011, a terrible and tragic event occurred. That event devastated a family and touched lives across the world. On that day, my friend Shannon Stone lost his life in a freak accident at The Ballpark in Arlington while watching a Texas Rangers game with his son.
I first heard the news Friday morning on my way to work. The station I normally listen to was on a commercial break so I switched over to a news station. The talk show hosts were discussing the incident but at that point I had no idea who the person was. When the station went to break, they had a news flash and that is when I found out.
The first thing I did was call a dear friend of mine and left him a voicemail to verify if this person was our friend. A few minutes after, I had a voicemail confirming my fears.
That Friday is a blur to me. I can tell you what I remember in a few words. I cried a lot. I cried all day at work but in that period of grief an idea was born to celebrate Shannon’s life.
The friend I called, Brett, soon received a message from me asking his thoughts on having an event to celebrate Shannon’s life. He thought it was a good idea, so I proposed a location in Fort Worth. Brett countered with the idea of hosting it in our home town, an idea that did not cross my mind. I agreed that was a better idea. I proposed a location and he agreed that would be a great choice. I consulted with my other dear friend Deanna and the idea became a mission with purpose.
In our home town of Cleburne, Texas, is a place called the Caddo Street Grill. I spoke with a manager there and from that conversation, an event was created and they contributed a generous donation to the family trust established for Shannon’s wife and son.
There was a late development for the event that made it a wonderful experience. A couple of days before, I found out that Shannon’s brother and his mother and father would be joining us. As a group we were extremely excited to hear the news.
On Friday, July 15, 2011 at Caddo Street Grill, the Cleburne High School Class of 1990 hosted “Celebrate Shannon Stone”. Many people in the area came out to share in stories of Shannon and celebrate how he touched our lives. Most of them wearing Texas Rangers gear to show appreciation for how the organization handled the incident in a first class manner. Many of these people wore Josh Hamilton attire to show love and support for the Texas Ranger who too is a victim of the unfortunate accident.
During the evening, time was shared where stories of Shannon were shared with his family and some of his fellow firemen that drove in from Brownwood, Texas. The stories ranged from elementary school through high school and beyond. Most were very funny in nature while some were touching. In the end, everyone’s heart was touched and we all left with a sense of peace from the man so many of us love.
I shared a story with Shannon’s mother that I did not share with the group at the time that I want to share with you now. It is personal yet it is also for everyone.
The night Shannon passed away, prior to me learning of his accident, I was bothered by dreams of great loss of loved ones. It bothered me all night but something happened at the end. Before I woke up, I could hear a peaceful whisper saying to me “Cherish what you have. Always cherish what you have.”
I will go on knowing in my heart that Shannon was sending me a comforting message because he knew I was in a bad place. Since then, my outlook on like is as great as it has ever been and I indeed cherish what I have.
This is Shannon’s message to us all: Always cherish what you have.