Tribute to a Special

Young Man

By Vic Kohring, July 9, 2016

A year ago this month, our family lost a precious member to an unfortunate accident. It has taken me a full year to work up the courage to write about my nephew Aaron, who was a week shy of his 27th birthday the day he went to be with his Lord and Savior. These words are written on his birthday.

Aaron was one of the most remarkable human beings who ever graced this earth - and whom I had the privilege of knowing as his uncle. He was more like a son than a nephew. I witnessed a lifetime of decency in him, an amazing individual with an upbeat and friendly disposition to go with a beaming smile. Aaron was totally dedicated to his family and friends. His kindness, loving and caring made a positive difference to many. I will never forget driving down a road one year with Aaron who was seven at the time. He looked over and said, "I love you Uncle Vic!"   

Aaron brought so much happiness to others. Each of those he came in contact with felt special in his presence, making their day seem brighter. His giving heart, generous nature, humility and compassion toward others made him extraordinary and one-of-a-kind. Aaron had a wonderful effect on people's lives both in and outside Alaska - even literally around the world in places where his job took him as a petroleum engineer with Royal Dutch Shell. Everywhere he went, he left a trail of friends as people became endeared while naturally drawn to him.

Aaron's church pastor Steve Reem used to say that he aspired to be like him, which is a huge compliment coming from a leader in the Christian community. I also find myself striving “to be like Aaron” to this day. There are times when I face a challenge in life and stop to think…How would Aaron handle this? It speaks a lot for the kind, thoughtful, humble person he was, a testament and shining example of how to live your life. "One in a million," Pastor Reem said recently. These qualities have become Aaron's legacy. 

There really are no words eloquent enough to do full justice in describing my nephew. I was honored to know him, an exceptional young man who reached so many during his short life. This world is a better place because of him. He definitely enriched my life, leaving memories I'll always cherish.   

My family and I miss Aaron terribly. Seldom a day goes by when we don't shed tears, remembering how deeply he touched our lives.  But we take comfort knowing he remains with us in spirit and that we'll reunite someday. Our separation will be brief in the larger scheme of life as we wait to cross over and join Aaron on the other side where he awaits patiently. In the meantime, we hold him in our hearts and dwell on the good memories and happy times spent together while celebrating that he’s now in a much better place, rejoicing with his Lord. 

Psalm 34:18 says "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those crushed in spirit." Jesus said in Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." These words give us strength.

I ask that you follow my nephew's example by showing your love and appreciation for others each and every day. And remember that love is the greatest gift of all.