Remembering a Hero
I sat down to write this column the Monday after 9/11, a day none of us should ever forget. That particular Sunday I listened to a sermon devoted to a message of giving thanks. What struck me from the pulpit was the words, “Let’s all take a moment to remember and give thanks to the policemen, firefighters, EMTs, servicemen and women, and all whose vocation puts their lives at risk to make our lives safe.”
The week prior, on Sept. 1, our lead CSP Daily News reported on Matt West, a Marine who died in Afghanistan. I reflected on his young wife and children—a girl who is just months old, and two boys who are not even 5—and of Matt’s parents, Marcy and John West, of Southwest Convenience Stores.
What a tremendous sacrifice Matt made for us. What a lifechanging price the West family has paid on our behalf.
The Wests were notified on the Monday afternoon of Matt’s death. The next night I worked with our team to get out the Daily News piece. Like you, I also read in the newspaper a small news article in the back pages, telling us that seven Marines had been killed the day before. The coverage seemed mundane—more deaths in the Mideast, more faceless names making the ultimate sacrifice. Of course, the faceless became a face, and the back pages moved ahead of the front page in terms of importance.
There are no words of politics in my message. Rather, they are words of grief, remembrance and gratitude, and solace for all of the West family, including John, a friend to so many in our industry.
Our CSP team will honor Matt by donating $10,000 to the Matthew West Fund to help his family. We surely know that there is no dollar amount to match the value of a life as well-lived as Matt’s. But we also acknowledge that his loss means the prospect of financial changes for his wife and his three young children.
So we are asking you to consider a contribution of any size. You can visit the USO website at www.uso.org/donate. Or you can e-mail me ( email@example.com) with a donation amount and a creditcard number. You can send a check to CSP in care of Kevin LeSueur/CARRE Foundation at 1911 S. Lindsay Road, Mesa, AZ 85204. Kevin will send you a receipt for your donation through CARRE, our charitable foundation, which will be tax-deductible. Your generosity will make a big statement. We will together let the West family know just how proud we are of their son, how grateful we are for the lives we have that Matt gave his life to protect, and how thankful we are for what so many fellow Americans do on our behalf.
Today we have 102,000 readers of CSP. If we get just $5 from 20% of our subscribers, wow! What assistance we can lend to Matt’s family. My hope is that you will act as soon as you’re finished reading this.
I think it’s been about two years since a 12-year-old African boy came on the scene, a boy whose family was devastated by AIDS. He captured us all with these words: “Do all that you can, with all that you have, in the time that you have. … Do all that you can.”
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for your consideration.