Yesterday, I received a message for your dad from his friend, Kamel. Due to dropping my phone in a port a potty urinal (that is a story for another day) I did not have his number to let him know of your dad's passing.
Kamel left a message wanting to know how we were doing and to let us know he would be coming out to Indianapolis soon. I want to share with you the story of Kamel and your dad, because I think it tells a lot of who your dad was.
A couple of years ago, Kamel knocked on our door and introduced himself as one of our neighbors. He told me that his wife had commented several times on how much she enjoyed watching your dad play outside with his boys and ALL the other neighborhood kids, including her little toddler. He asked to speak with your dad, because he noticed our AZ license plate and wanted to ask him some questions. Your dad joined us and we learnt that Kamel and his family had moved from Alegeria two years prior to this conversation. He was still learning English, but spoke very well and I could tell he was a sincere and intelligent man.
Your dad loved any opportunity to help someone out and he genuinely cared for ALL people. He quickly befriended Kamel and answered his questions. Although, sometimes they had language barriers, they quickly learnt much about the other and found ways to joke:) When it was time for them to move, your dad was right there, with his big muscles, helping them load the truck. All of that occurred in the early spring. That July, we traveled to Phoenix for our vacation month. Kamel was one of the first people your dad contacted, because he wanted to make sure everything had worked out for them and see for himself that they were doing alright.
Damond made an effort to make contact with him any time we were in Phx. We had planned on visiting Kamel and his family upon returning from Yuma. Unfortunately, that did not occur.
When I received Kamel's message yesterday, I knew I needed to tell him in person. Like everyone, they were shocked to hear of his passing and felt much sorrow over the loss of their good friend.
"Impressive, the word that comes to mind when I think of him is Impressive! His strength was impressive, his mind was impressive, his character was impressive.
He was the best person I have met in this country. There are many people in this country that don't reach out to others, but Damond did. He was so friendly and good. He believed in many of the same things we do, for example the IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY."
He was an angel here on earth.
His wife agreed and kept repeating that your dad was a "good man."
I could tell there was so much they wanted to say, but were trying to figure out the best translation for their thoughts.
What I like about this story is that Kamel and your dad never really spent a large quantity of time together. Maybe a total of 10 hrs throughout these last couple of years. I know your dad admired Kamel for his courage to bring his family to a new country, to accept jobs that were beneath his education level so he could care for his family, and his willingness to work hard to create a stronger future for his family.
This admiration was returned by Kamel. He knew the kind of man your dad was, IMPRESSIVE!
Jacob with Kamel and his beautiful family :)