To the editor:
I want to commend Coach Brent Blakely of Pekin and Coach Nate Weaton of Fairfield for their decision to have their teams visit Parkview Care Center in Fairfield. What I am about to let you know may make you even feel better about your decision. I am sure the young people felt a sense of obligation to make the visit, but I truly hope they read this because they may feel differently about their visit.
Imagine my shock and surprise when reading the paper that I turn to the sports page and there on the bottom of the page is the article about the visit with a picture of my father. I do not know who the young man was talking to my father, but you gave my family a very precious gift. That picture caught the true essence of my father with such a joyful look on his face. He loved kids, loved giving them a bad time, and truly loved making them laugh. The next day when my Mom and I went to visit, we gave him a bad time of being a local celebrity, but he said it was so nice of those young kids coming to visit and making it such an enjoyable afternoon.
My family believes in God winks and there is a God wink here. That picture was the last picture of my father. A few days later he passed suddenly and peacefully, surrounded by three generations of his family. Young man, we do not know you, but the gift of that picture with the look on my father’s face will be cherished by my family forever. We displayed it on his memorial table and the whole family loved it.
In conclusion, the small gesture your coaches had you do had a ripple effect I am sure no one thought imaginable. My entire family also wants to thank the entire staff at Parkview Care Center for their loving and compassionate care for my father, you will never know how much it means to us. Thank you!
- Mark E. Thomas, Batavia