Monday, March 31, 2014

So Long Jack


  Several days ago, Hoonah lost yet another one of it's residents. With all that's going on in the world, Ukraine, Obamacare, Flight 370, it didn't get the slightest bit of national attention, but here in Hoonah, the word spread like wildfire that Jack Brewer had passed away. We've had any number of folks die here, just like anywhere else, but when some people pass on, their passing leaves a void and a sadness that seems to impact the whole town. Jack was one of the good guys, and in an era when there seems to be less and less of them, his absence is noticeable. He worked at the school as a janitor, but not because he didn't have talent to spare. He was a world class welder and could do any number of hands on projects with a degree of skill that was greatly admired. He was one of those guys that every town needs and is glad to have. You don't think about them much until you have a project that needs done and then you're damn glad they're around. Jack was popular with all the kids and staff at the school. He always had a smile and a good word for everyone. He was from North Carolina, I guess from way back in the woods somewhere. Having a conversation with him was a little challenging, he had a pretty strong accent and I often wished a caption would show up over his head after he spoke like they have on Swamp Men so I could understand what he was saying. Jack had some kind of heart problem and if I recall was waiting for a heart transplant. When the folks here in town found out that he was having health problems, the word went out and there was a hugely successful bake sale with people buying cakes and pies and muffins for absurd amounts of money because they wanted to support someone they cared for. I don't recall the exact amount of money that was raised, but it was in the thousands. One thing I'm certain of, as Jack was laying in that hospital bed, he knew that the residents of the town he had adopted as his own loved him. We'll sure miss you Jack. Our prayers go out to the family and all those who loved him so much.

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