September 11 means a lot of things to a lot of people. Ten years ago it was just somebody’s birthday. Nine years ago it became a national tragedy. Two years ago it became personal.
Two years ago on the 12th of September (my first day of work for my current employer) Jack called me with the news that a friend had been killed in an accident the night before. 34-year-old Jason Crume had taken his tractor out to help pull a truck out of the mud and on the way home was somehow thrown from the tractor and killed. This young man was a husband and a father to two young sons. He was also our friend.
The Crumes kinda snuck into our life. One day they weren’t there and the next they were right beside us, working tirelessly and making us laugh, Irene with her dry wit and Jason with his crazy antics. Jack actually knew them both better than I because of his and Jason’s devotion to the RA program. A former Eagle Scout, Jason became the action in Jack’s plans, always willing, always excited and always patient with both Jack and the boys.
No, I didn’t get to know Jason really well until after his death, through obituaries, memorials and the dozens, maybe hundreds of testimonials and anecdotes heard over the weeks following Jason’s services. I came to know a man who was kind and gentle as well as energetic and hardworking. I learned that, in between golf games and managing his business, Jason was active in the Boy Scouts of America as well as Rotary and our church. Jason also volunteered his time to give financial tutoring and often went above and beyond his 9-5 responsibilities to help a person in need.
But I’ve mostly come to know Jason through the woman he married and the boys he left behind. Jason was a good man. He must have been to win the love of a woman like Irene and to have raised two good young men like Victor and Joe.
This week the Clovis High Plains Rotary Club bestowed the Paul Harris Fellow award on Irene and boys in honor of Jason and his service to the community. Jack and I and several other friends and family were proud to be there at the presentation with them as we will be from now on. They’re our family now and we have Jason and his exuberant personality to thank for that.