I first met Alex when he came to our youth dodge ball tournament. He was there on the boy scouts’ team. He had a great time. Soon after that he came to my office to ask about playing on our church high school basketball team. We sat and chatted. I told him we were going to have a weeklong basketball summer camp before the season started and that he should come. He came and brought his brother with him. They played on the basketball team and soon after that started coming to youth group events. They totally engrained themselves in our youth group. They were coming on Sunday nights, retreats, basketball games, mission projects, and lock ins. Their mother is a minister at another church, because they didn’t have a youth group, Alex and his brother made our's their home.
Every now and then the two of them would come on Sunday morning. The whole church loved them. I would often get questions asking me where Alex was. He was such a well liked young man. For three years he was a vital part of our youth group. He became a member of our leadership team. He always had a smile on his face, a warm hug, and a love for people. I loved watching him interact with the younger kids of the church. It was a joy to see how much they loved him.
As the years rolled on, his basketball skills got better and better. When he was a senior, he was one of best players on our basketball team. He could dominate a game. It was a lot of fun to watch him grow. During his senior year, Alex had to start thinking about life after college and what he was going to do. His father was in the United States Armed Forces (Army), and that is what Alex wanted to do. He enlisted and shortly after he graduated high school he was off to basic training.
Alex is now stationed in Korea. I miss Alex and I think about him often. When you work with youth, you are always worried about them. Are they doing the right thing? Are they staying away from drugs and alcohol? Are they making the right decisions? I never thought that I would have the added worry of one of my youth being a soldier. Don’t get me wrong I am so proud of him for fighting for and representing our country. But there is an everyday worry for his safety.
God gave Alex a gift. He gave him a passion to want to defend our country. Man created the act of war. The fact that there is not peace among all nations is something that man has allowed to happen. God gives people the passion and love to defend what is right and to defend the everyday people that go about their lives oblivious of the evil of the world around them. I am thankful for all the soldiers that protect us and guide us, but I am especially proud of Blackhawk Crew Chief Alex. May God bless America!