A few days after Mitchell passed away we received a very personal letter from Representative John Knotwell expressing his sincere condolences. I remember reading his heart-felt letter and being moved to tears because he, a stranger to us, cared so much. He wasn't looking for recognition. But he, being a father, recognized our hurt and felt after us … and he served us by mourning with us.

Once again I was on the receiving end of that magnificent doctrine of mourning with those that mourn. So many of you have done the same for us – and we are deeply grateful. 

Fast-forward a year (today) and Rep. Knotwell, who still cared, visited our home with two memorials in honor of our fallen son: a state flag that had been flown in memory of Mitch near the day of his passing and an official citation from the state recognizing our son, his journey and legacy. As I read the words of the citation I was so moved by its thoughtfulness – I fought back tears. There was nothing perfunctory about it. That state document was heart-felt and very much in touch.

We visited a while and I could tell by the questions he asked and the comments he made that he cared. After he left my home I went to my office and quietly shut my door and had a deep moment … a moment of grief and gratitude.

My wife and I want to thank Speaker Rebecca Lockhart and Rep. John Knotwell for recognizing our son and family. Though we wish with all our heart we were living out our lives under the canopy of anonymity, we are so grateful for the empathy, service, and goodness of others. For all of you who reach out in love, know that you make heavy hearts a little lighter.

Today I was reminded that people are good. Very good.