Reflections on 2017
As I reflect on 2017, I personally feel blessed. My oldest daughter graduated from college and started her career in the real world, my middle daughter returned home after several months serving abroad and we were able to spend time together as a family on vacation during the holidays. However, what keeps lingering and stays on my mind the most is who we lost last year. I was saddened by the passing of some of my favorite entertainers in 2017. Glen Campbell, Don Williams, Jim Nabors and one of my favorites of all time, Tom Petty. As a kid and an adult, I would always stop to watch Gomer if he was on The Andy Griffith Show on TV, even if I had seen the episode countless times. I grew up listening to Don Williams and Glen Campbell with my parents, all the while complaining about having to listen to country music. In my day it was not cool to listen to country music and you dare not let your friends know you did.
The one who got to me the most was Tom Petty. In all transparency, I have never been a huge concert goer, not really sure why. I guess I have a tendency to get in routines and not slow down to enjoy the arts like I should. But Tom, he was on my bucket list to see and yes, I did make it to his last concert tour in Nashville in 2017. Thanks to my nephew, Cole, who informed me that Tom was coming and for my wife knowing that I wanted to go and buying the tickets. She knew if I saw the price of the ticket, I would pass and say we will get him next time. Thank you Susie and Cole, it was the best concert I have ever attended. I stood and sang the whole time. Those of you who know me well know that is out of character for me! That night was special and I felt like a kid for the evening with the bride of my youth.
Closer to home, I lost three people this year wom I was privileged to know. Their deaths have left wounds and sadness for many. Brock Blick, my cousin MArk’s son, was my second cousin, but felt like a nephew. In January of 2017, Brock was tragically killed in a hunting accident at the age of 12. As you can imagine, this has devastated our family. Brock was an only child, a good son who was adored by his loving parents and a lot of fun! He had a contagious smile, a kind heart and a great love of animals and anything to do with the outdoors.
Haynes Smith was my Rotary buddy. Haynes was a World War II veteran and a hero. Of course, those of you who knew Haynes know he would not think himself a hero. Haynes was our Sergeant-at-Arms in Rotary for many years. He would be the first one to greet you; always with the firm handshake and a big smil.e My fondest memory of Haynes was him leading us in the song and pledge. His song was always “God Bless America” which he sang with the enthusiasm of a child and the sincerity of veteran who loved his country. You will be missed my friend.
Lastly, in December, my dear friend, Chad Starliper, left this earth much too soon at forty-three. Chad was one of the guys you just plain envied. He was handsome, athletic, musically talented, and brilliant. Chad was one of my favorite lunch dates; he was well-versed on a variety of matters ranging from theology and scriptures to economics and the workings of the US treasury. Time would fly when Chad and I would meet and every time we met, we would agree we have to get together more often. Chad lived life to the fullest, and in the end when he knew the cancer was coming for him, he was valiant and a pro at finishing his life. Chad inspired me not only in how to live, but also how to be gracious and courageous in the face of death.
So, what do these stories have to do about our firm and how do they relate to you? First, I share these stories because they are what our firm is about. We are in the relationship business and we view our clients as part of our family. There are also lessons and reminders we have learned in our stories that we want to share with you. This month, I hope you take away the reminder of not delaying that bucket list item you have wanted to do. Brock, Gaines and Chad are all reminders that we should all ‘seize the day’.
Sometimes we need to pause and enjoy the moment and the people that mean the most to us. No thanks to me, but to my wife, I got to see Tom Petty in concert before he passed. I also cherish the last times I got to be with my three friends.
In closing, I hope you enjoyed our first newsletter. It’s one of those things that I have wanted to do, but never slowed down to make happen. I assure you future newsletters will be written by different members of our team and will not focus on such a somber topic. We hope to cover a variety of topics and stories that we believe relate to you, the world and of course, we will cover some insurance topics.
Wishing you a great 2018!
As the managing partner/founder of the agency, Ashley oversees the operations of the agency, as well as being involved with many clients on a daily basis to ensure their needs are met.