This is a photo of Zech. He's the one with no shirt. The other two are my sons. When he was a boy, Zech lived next door to us. All 3 boys have grown to adulthood since I took this photo.
Zech was close friends with my boys, even though he was a bit older. There was a time when Nick and Zech were inseparable during the daylight hours. I remember Zech as quiet and polite. He always addressed me as "Mr. Dave".
I haven't seen Zech in years. He had a tough life. His parents were not around for much of his childhood; When he was my neighbor, his aunt and uncle were raising him; and I am told that, as an adult, he struggled with a heroin addiction and spent some time in jail.
A month ago, Zech was reported missing. This weekend, his body was found in a snow bank in Cincinnati. He was 27 years old.
I grieve for Zech and for a young life that was cut short; I grieve for the life and childhood he should have had but did not; I grieve for his family, who are suffering a tragedy I pray I never experience; and I grieve for myself because I was not there to help someone who could have used a role model and maybe just a little more guidance.
If you are reading this, call your kids and tell them you love them.
If you are reading this, call your siblings and ask them how their week is going.
If you are reading this, call you mother and listen to whatever she feels like talking about.
If you are reading this, hold tightly to someone special in your life. Tomorrow is not promised to either of you.
Today, my prayers and thoughts are with Zech's family. I hope that they remember him as I do - a quiet, polite boy who was kind to my sons.
Rest in peace, Zech.