A friend of mine from my early teens, Derek Faulkenberry, died last week in a plane crash in Columbia, S.C. The father of two young children, Derek was 34.
I thought about Derek and his brother Jason this past week while rafting in Costa Rica. We often went on church trips together, including outings in the mountains of South Carolina with hiking, swimming and campfires. Sitting at my computer this afternoon, I Googled Derek to see if I could tell what he was up to these days, and the news stories of his funeral were the first items on the page.
In my experience, Derek made an impression on everyone he met. At the week-long church camps we attended, Derek was incredibly centered for a kid his age, his stark blue eyes able to convey a sense of calm and trust in the people around him. After reading the news stories about his life and death, I’m not surprised to hear that he was a devoted father, a leader in his church and a man who inspired everyone he came across in life.
I can only imagine how devastating this must be for his mother, Helen, and his siblings, including his sister Heather. The Faulkenberrys are in my thoughts today.