All of us at the Boot Campaign are all too familiar with death. Unfortunately, it’s a reality in the lives of the military community that we serve. It’s the men and women that we have lost – too many, and too often in my opinion – that inspires the work we do daily at our small operation here in Texas. We are constantly striving to find ways to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and to honor those that continue to serve.
So when I heard about the death of Kidd Kraddick on Saturday, my heart sank, and I thought about all those children he was fighting for, and I realized that in his own way, Kidd was a soldier too. For more than 20 years, he championed the cause of children with chronic illness, and worked tirelessly to bring honor and joy to them and their families. I know he will be missed by so many.
The Boot Girls had the wonderful opportunity to meet Kidd, and share with him our mission of spreading awareness, honor and gratitude for our veterans, and those who continue to serve. And of course, he got it. He identified with our desire to go out there, fight for those who were so deserving, and who were all too often giving their life and leaving loved ones behind to grieve.
You could see joy in Kidd’s face – he loved what he did, and he was great at it. We are so honored to have met him, and we are forever grateful that he became an advocate for our campaign, and donned our BOOTS to help us spread the word as only he could do.
As I do anytime I hear of someone losing their life at such a young age, I stop and reflect about life, and the shortness of it. Part of my personal motivation to be a part of the Boot Campaign has always been the respect and awe I have felt for those who WILLINGLY put themselves into a career where they could potentially give their life for what they love. I know, like many of us, I take each day for granted – time with friends and loved ones, birthdays, ladies lunches, days on the golf course – all of the seemingly every day things that pass us by because we assume they will always happen.
I will never be able to put into words how grateful I am for those men and women who are willing to sacrifice those beautiful, small moments to allow me to have mine. So, the death of Kidd, who I’m quite sure wasn’t planning to leave this Earth any time soon, makes me appreciate in a whole different way MY time here, and appreciate all the blessings I have.
I know I’m not the only one who will miss his company each day on my way to work, his goofiness making a long day ahead seem a little bit easier. Soldier on, Kidd – you will never be forgotten.
“When he shall die, take him out and cut him in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
– William Shakespeare