Yesterday more than a thousand people gathered in East Jordan, Michigan to say good bye to Ryan Shay. Some wore their emtions on their sleeves while others likely found it hard to hold them back. For myself, it was a chance to show my respect to someone I merely crossed paths with in my own life. I felt compelled to travel across the country to say farewell.
We all sat for over three hours listening to his coaches, families, friends, and preachers genuinely speak about such a wonderful athlete and person.
The common theme seemed to address his tenacity, focus, and compassion. He loved what he did and he loved the people in his life.
I don't really know how to correctly put it, but I felt a sense of "satisfaction" (or ease?) at hearing all of these people speak of him. I don't know that many of us can look back upon our own lives and know that our direction was always towards the goals we laid out before ourselves. For Ryan though; it really seemed to be the case. He never wasted a moment on the wrong path.
Here are some things from yesterday that you all should know:
*More than one thousand people showed up to a funeral in upstate Michigan. This was not a funeral where people "made a showing." It was their destination.
*The State of Michigan recognized Ryan and a State Legislator came to the funeral to present his family with a seal from the state.
*The US Olympic Team delivered an OLY flag to Ryan's family.
*Ryan is survived by his wife, Alicia; his mother and father; and seven siblings (4 brothers and 3 sisters).
*The Ryan Shay Memorial fund has been created and I will provide more information about it shortly.