This weekend I had the honor of going to the funeral of retired Army First Sargent Thomas Ross. As I walked up to the pavilion at the Veterans Cemetery in Houston, I passed a line of Veterans holding flags. Near the entrance were the soldiers of the Honor Guard standing tall and holding their guns that would later blast out the 21 gun salute. Sadness overcame me with the reality that Thomas would never come roaring into our drive way on his Harley to give Gavin a ride. I was saddened to think that my husband was now without one of his best friends. However, that day brought me a moment of pure clarity for my life. The noise of my life gets overwhelming, but what is important is the legacy I leave behind. Thomas’ legacy has many lessons that have left an impression on me.
Thomas’ life was one of service and generosity. He was someone who gave until it hurt. He came into people’s lives and through his goodness and love, changed them for the better. Now, you may think I am painting the picture of an upstanding Christian man who is soft spoken, kind, and giving. Thomas was far from that idealistic picture we have in today’s society. He was gruff, he wore jeans and a combat veteran leather vest; not a pressed dress shirt and khakis. He ate too much, talked too loudly, definitely cussed too much and enjoyed a drink occasionally. But, here’s the key. .. Here’s what makes Thomas the perfect example of a Christian man. He loved…. He gave without a thought of what it might cost him…. He didn’t make you feel judged, he made you feel like you mattered. That is the type of legacy I want to leave behind… The legacy of being a true life-long hero.