Letter: A tribute to my friend

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 4, 2015

Dear Editor,

In honor and memory of coach Gary Ward, gone but not forgotten!

It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since you left us. You left us not to return, but the memories of you are just as real in my mind as if they were being lived out right now.

Your passion for life and your passion for people could not be quenched – not to mention your passion for God and truth, which is where it all originated. I am convinced that you were put on this earth for the sole purpose of keeping us laughing.

Your gift of joy and laughter was your trademark. Seems that your happiness came from keeping others laughing. Your laugh was contagious and always preceded you – we heard you before we saw you. How could we ever forget you, coach Ward?

You took care of the boys, and I took care of the girls, and through all those years of teaching (and) coaching together, your jokes, laughter and joy is what took us through in good and bad times. Perhaps some young ladies’ or young men’s lives were affected for the good because we were in the gym.

Needless to say, your spirit speaks volumes even in your absence. Your absence, which came way too soon and unexpectedly, admonishes me to daily evaluate my life, making sure I’m doing God’s will and being in relationship with Him.

I saw you doing what “real men” do, trying to make sure your ways were pleasing unto the Lord. And where they weren’t, you humbled yourself, repented and got it right. This I will always admire you for.

Some people are born into this world, live and die, and you can hardly tell they were ever here. Others are born, and they live so loud and have such an impact that you miss them in the silence.

Oh, how we all miss you! Your famous words, “I love kids!” and your laugh are now only echoes, but they are eternal.

I look forward to the day when we will be together in the presence of the Lord, our Creator. What a day of rejoicing that will be!

Thank you for your impact on and encouragement to your family, friends, all the students/athletes, and especially me. What you did for us and TCCHS (Troup County Comprehensive High School) truly lives on, even though you’re gone.

Faye Benjamin