Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In memory of Eric Lentz

Today, we lost a great guy in our small town. He was on his way home on his motorcycle, and there was an accident.

Eric had worked as a highway patrolman for many years. A few years back, he had worked for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and had done his part to get drugs off the streets.

He was one of those guys you never forgot after you once met him. He was from New York, and had that "Brooklyn" accent.  Sometimes he used colorful language that would make my face turn red, but he always made me laugh. He was a real character. Once you got to know him, you looked forward to hearing what he might say next.

Eric loved women. Simple as that. He appreciated women. He made you feel like you were the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. He just had that way about him. But you always knew that there were two women he truly loved: his lovely wife Angie and his precious daughter Christie. Those were the most important women in his life, and he cherished both of them.

We were both regular blood donors and used to run into each other at the local blood bank, which is no longer here. Eric would come in and as I like to say, "hold court" in there till he had us all in stitches. Everybody loved it when he was there.

He was serious about his work with the bureau of narcotics. He and I worked together on an article on the growing problem of crystal meth in our area. He was very proud to have contributed to that article, hoping to make people aware of this terrible problem. I believe he wanted to do his part to stop the madness he saw, to make the streets safer for his children and for all of our children. He worked undercover for a while, and even changed his appearance somewhat. I teased him that the minute he opened his mouth, anyone would know he wasn't "from around these parts."

He was proud of his beautiful son, Tony. I said he was Eric's "mini-me." I think as we watch Tony grow, that prediction will come true. You could see how much the two of them loved each other.

Eric was a true friend. He never said much to me when I lost Lauren, probably because it was too painful for him. He loved his children and was a wonderful father. I think he imagined what I might be feeling as a parent. He would just give me a hug, or text me and say hi.

I have seen him over the years from time to time in WalMart, at church, at high school foottball games and around town. My husband and I ran into him about two weeks ago in WalMart. He greeted me as he always did, with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. We had a great talk, as we always did.

I am praying for Angie, Christie and Tony today, and will continue to pray for them and for all of their family. I am also praying for the young man who was in the other vehicle, too. This tragedy has touched many people in our small town. The people here will embrace these families and comfort them the way they did for us when we lost our daughter. That's what the people here do.

I'll miss you, Eric. I pray Lauren was there to greet you and thank you for being a good friend to her mom. You were a special person. You showed through your life what a man should be - strong, courageous, loving and caring toward others. You were a role model for how a husband should love his wife and how a father should love his children.

I'll always remember you.

"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."