Monday was among the saddest moments I have had as a professional. I received a message from Jason (aka work spouse, other half at USD, "dad" to the SLIC) that Chuck Cook had died after a 6 week battle for recovery from an auto accident. Chuck was involved with the Student Leadership and Involvement Center and was a vibrant voice in my work world for the past 2 years. I should also mention that I am about an hour outside of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I am here working. I need to be focused on the students with USD Medical Brigades, yet my heart longs to be home. To be with my community, to care for them, and to grieve with them.
Like all of us, Chuck had a story. His was filled with joy and sorrow, but mostly pride. There is something about the drive to change who you have been that always impresses me. Chuck was never one to sit and maintain the status quo. He interjected, advocated, encouraged and confronted each and every day. All of that challenge was matched with a sharp sense of humor and a personality that allowed him to say out loud what the entire room was thinking.
While Chuck was not a fraternity man, he was a friend to many of you. As we navigate this loss, there are a few things that come to mind for me, lessons that I can take from the brief time I knew Chuck...
-Don't be afraid to be yourself.
-When something doesn't seem right, have the drive to investigate and fix it.
-Love your friends beyond measure.
-If you are unhappy, make a plan and do something to change it.
-How you present yourself is how people will treat you. (It was not uncommon for fashion advice to be issued.)
-Never hold back laughter.
-Share a part of yourself with others... There is happiness found in community.
I am still filled with a sense of disbelief. How could this really have happened. He was just in the office a few days before the crash talking about the upcoming CPA exam and the hours spent studying. Chuck made an impact on me and many others. He made a difference.
On Friday there will be a celebration of Chuck's life at 5pm on the SLP 3rd floor courtyard. If you are able, please join us. Please know that the Counseling Center is also available to you, as students. www.sandiego.edu/usdcc