I have been fortunate enough to have met some truly great and influential people in my life. People such as Oliver North, Chuck Robb, Richard and Kyle Petty, Ward Burton and Wayne Hoy. If you are into politics, you know the first two. I had the honor to see Mr. North up close and shake his hand. Mr. Robb I met during a meeting of a handicapped persons advocate group. Richard and Kyle Petty, of NASCAR fame, I met at a visit to Victory Junction Gang Camp and Mr. Burton, another NASCAR driver, I met at a race.
And, then, there is Coach Hoy.
This is a man who not only rose above those five gentlemen, he was, truly, a very special person who touched many lives. Now, you may not have heard of him, and that’s OK. Coach Hoy was a teacher at Douglas S. Freeman High School in Henrico County, Virginia.
Mr. Hoy, who was a coach at that High School as well as a physics teacher, was one of those rare people who, no matter what was thrown at him, manage to smile, tell a joke and make you feel good. And, he was thrown many curve balls.
He had diabetes that pretty much took over his body and slowly killed him. It cost him, at first, a foot and then part of a leg, much of his sight, his kidneys and put him on dialysis. Ultimately, coach paid the ultimate price.
Before all of that, however, he was a very active man. A Mason-a clown, to be specific, he was one of the most honorable people I have ever met. He rarely, if ever, said an unkind word about anybody and whenever I needed advice, I knew exactly who to go to. As did most people.
Because he taught, he touched many lives and people never forgot him. I’m telling you, the man could anywhere on the planet and meet someone he taught or worked with or just knew. ANYWHERE. And, those people treated him with the utmost respect. His son is very much like him in this and many other respects.
As we come up on the eighth anniversary of his death, I have thought, quite a bit, about what we lost. The coach was my father in law but I always considered him my second dad. I miss our talks, his jokes (and, yes, those dreadful cornball jokes too) and his advice. I could always count on him giving me sound advice.
Most of all, however, I just miss him.