Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thank You, George!

As I journey through life, I obviously meet and get to know many, many people. I have always tried to discern what attributes I would like to copy from those I meet. It's a bit like taking a piece of this person and attaching it to me.... or some other trait of that person and attaching it to me. Of course there are often observations I make, regarding certain traits, in which I wish to avoid emulating. But, I believe there is something of worth and value to observe from almost everyone - some more than others. George Woodard Jr. was one such man...

George was brutally shot and murdered on Wednesday morning, September 30, at 5:30 as he was about to enter his vehicle in his own driveway. He was departing for work. He had kissed his wife and they both said "I love you" just before he headed for his truck. We were co-workers.

I received the call about two hours later that morning while I was on a business trip in Northern Kentucky. My heart sank... my stomach flipped... my mind questioned... At least three times later that day, I would cry. I took the next available flight back to Huntsville. Who would do this to George? The local authorities have questioned several people. I hope they find the person who did this.

George was an integral part of our management team. His influence and impact were company-wide. Someone called him a "gentle giant" - getting things done by using positive reinforcement, not yelling or screaming. You could never pass by him without him greeting you and reaching out his hand. He always smiled and was infectiously full of encouragement. To get him to say something negative about anyone was almost an impossible task. He had a smile and demeanor that immediately put you at ease - even when there was a problem or issue at work. He never panicked, nor lost focus. He seemed to always be in-control and fully engaged.

He would often look for someone that was eating lunch alone in the cafeteria. He would ask if he could join, and then befriend yet another person for at least 45 minutes. I would always hear stories of how George would help other people after work or on weekends, even if it changed his plans or was inconvenient for him or his family. He seemed to have a love for people that trumped everything else.

George was impactful not only at work, but also in the community. His death has been prominent news since September 30. All of the local media have interviewed family, friends, and co-workers to get to know the man that so many had come to love. I was told that the TV stations are so surprised at the number of comments that have been posted on their web sites regarding George.

I visited his family at his home 2 days after the tragedy. He has such a wonderfully strong family... a large, close-knit family to say the least. They were telling me funny stories of life episodes about George that only family members know. I could see traits and characteristics of George in his Mother and his brother, Chester. He, no doubt, was loved greatly by his family as well.

George was a deacon at his church in Huntsville. The night before his death he attended choir practice and offered up the closing prayer. The was a man of strong Christian faith and a devoted child of God. I look forward to seeing and speaking with him again someday in heaven...

George will be missed and never replaced. There are many wonderful pieces of George that I have attached to myself. His examples have made me a better person. I only wish there were more people in the world like George Woodard, Jr. I'll miss you my friend....

1 comment:

  1. Jim: Thank you for sharing about our friend George. Of course we may never understand why God took him home now, but I can trust that the Word of God is true in Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." I know George loved God personally, and George's love for and good works toward others are his witness of faith. I too miss you George. JDW