Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Reality Checked In

The normal expected write up for Christmas Day is for one to give thanks for all of those who have helped you over the last season. Prospect Park has a ton of people to thank because 2008 has been a great year for us.

Thanks to the combination of you the readers and those who help bring us news on Ranger prospect that we have grown bigger than we have dreamed off. However my own holiday joy was given a major kick to the gut the other day so I wanted to give thanks to someone who is no longer here.

My wife handed me my local newspaper the other day and this was the story on the front page: Major Thomas Egan. If you thought you were going to read about how a war hero lost his life in combat then I am sorry because I wish that was the case.

See if Major Egan had fallen in combat then I could understand why he is gone but that did not happen. It is why this year the holidays have lost their cheer for me. If anything how he lost his life is hurting me because I know that if not for Major Egan and a few others then that could have been me.

Back in 1991, my own life was totally out of control as I was fighting the demons of drug abuse and I was losing the battle. Like many who have fallen victim to addiction, I had totally screwed up my life and did a ton of damage to those who cared about me.

I do not know if you want to call this survivor's guilt or whatever but I am here today able to say that I have been clean and sober since June 14th 1991. By all rights if not for Major Egan then I am not following this awesome dream called Prospect Park.

Never in my wildest of dreams did I ever think that I would get to one day cover Ranger prospects, attend NHL drafts, interview all of those who I have and make so many great friends as I have done.

So when I read that article it was worse than a kick in the gut as the last person I would have thought would have wound up like that was Thomas Egan. He was one of the smartest persons I had ever met, he was a lawyer who had helped so many and the last person I would have dreamed the kind of fate that became his.

I think what hurts the most is that a soldier died alone, soldiers are taught to never leave their buddies behind no matter what the cost and Major Egan got left behind. His addiction led him to make bad decisions which cost him his life but the system failed him as well.

All that is left is for those of us who served with and under Major Egan is to give him his proper send off and for me to finally say thank you for his help in saving my life.

I owe him that much just as much as I owe all of you for helping me build this place up.

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