In some ways, I’m glad we didn’t have all this instant communication we have today, 20 years ago.
There was some things that I didn’t need to know or find out instantaneously.
Take that news my sister Alane delivered to me in her kitchen that Sunday afternoon, August 25th, 1996.
I’ll get to the exact information in a moment.
That Sunday was wrapping up my summer as an intern at WHO-TV in Des Moines. Things had gone well and I was getting paid halfway through the internship. I was cutting (editing tape to tape) and feeding weekend morning news shows. It meant going into work after 4 AM and being ready for the morning newscasts.
My main job didn’t include regular checks of the newswires for any updates or stories moving that we should get into the newscast or send a crew. I’d later learn that skill to constantly check the wires for any breaking story. If I’d checked that wire service before leaving for the day, I would have found disturbing news that hit close to home.
This particular Sunday I was only in my tape feeding room during the show and then off to my second job, selling programs at the Iowa Cubs. This day was special because most of the part-time staff was being asked to stay around for the entire day game and work ‘security’ for the post-game concert featuring Huey Lewis and the News.
I was at my field-level position and even talked to my sister Alane at the game. That summer I took up residence in her basement. She had news to share in the afternoon, but waited until after the rock show and when I got home about a tragic event in the news that hit too close to home.
All of these moments would have been different had I a phone in my pocket to receive texts or calls of what had happened almost 20 hours earlier, my best friend Brent had been thrown from the backseat of a car he’d been riding in and was dead.
His uncle had been driving and they had been at Rod Weber’s 40th birthday party, a big family event for Brent’s dad in Gilbertville.
But that turn was missed and Brent was hurt badly. He was taken to the hospital in Waterloo but the damage had been done. He was not going to continue his junior year at the University of Iowa. He wanted to help people as a physical therapist or doctor or something else in the medical field.
Instead, his organs were harvested and he helped people with the gift of life.
I don’t know who got his heart, eyes or kidneys, but 20 years later, we still have his spirit.
We remember, Brent Weber, we remember and will not forget.