HOWMY GRANDFATHER STILL INFLUENCES ME TODAY CARING FOR THE COMMUNITY, HOWEVER HE COULD
We’ve all got that one person who we wish we were more like. For me, that person was, and still is, my grandfather. While I can see the ways I am not my grandfather, I still try to emulate some of his characteristics to this day. He impacted a lot of people throughout his life, and I would honestly be happy to be just half the man he was by the end of my life. Nelson Eddy lived in the town of Courtland along the Sacramento River for much of his life. He was a pilot in WWII, and flew on several missions over China and Burma. After the war, he owned an electric and pump business that focused on the needs of local farmers and residents along the river. None of this may seem particularly unique, and after the war, I’m sure his life looked pretty ordinary by many standards. What made my grandfather so special to me and so many others was this: He lived to serve the people around him. My grandfather was someone who loved to tell stories. He would tell stories about the war, about living in the Delta, about his trips to Lake Tahoe, and his family. Whenever he talked, people just gravitated to him. He was one of the few people I would never grow tired of listening to. He always had me hanging on every detail. He just had a natural confidence
that made him an amazing conversationalist. It’s what made him so great at helping people, as well as telling stories. A few years before my grandfather passed, a local historian recorded him talking about his history and life in the Delta. I have copies of some of those recordings, and I still listen to them every now and again, just to hear my grandfather’s voice tell a story. I don’t know how he had the time, but somehow my grandfather managed to work and also be incredibly present and active in his community. He loved where he lived, and he showed it in his service to others around town. Throughout his life, he was the owner of Eddy Electric, a founder of the town’s church, an active leader in the local Boy Scout troop, a volunteer for the fire department, a member of many clubs in the area, and someone who would always answer the phone to help a local resident in need. Anywhere he saw a need, he sought to address it. And for all the ways that he helped, it was never a source of pride for him. He always stayed humble. “WHAT MADE MY GRANDFATHER SO SPECIAL TO ME AND SO MANY OTHERS WAS THIS: HE LIVED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM.”
I always knew a lot of people loved and respected my grandfather, but I didn’t get the full picture until his memorial service in 2002. The room was packed with people out the door. There weren’t enough seats, and all the standing room was taken up as well. I don’t know that I’ll ever measure up to him as much as I would like, but I can try. I’m not as much a natural conversationalist as my grandfather was. I’m more reserved, and a lot of people have told me to smile more often. I don’t have that expressive personality that draws people in easily. While I acknowledge this shortcoming in myself, it’s my hope that one day my kids will have the same magnetic personality he did. At Campus Commons PT, I try to emulate the way my grandfather put the needs of others before his own when I help patients from all ages and walks of life within our community. While my work might not put my name on a building, I’m satisfied knowing I’m serving the community just like my grandfather once did.
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