Act of Loving Kindess and Selfless Service

Friends of the late David Geiger gather to rebuild his roof.

Dear Tradewinds,

Last weekend a group of David Geiger’s friends gathered at his home to repair the roof that was damaged by the fire set after his murder last October. This photo says what words cannot. It was taken after a long, hard, non-stop day of working in the hot sun. After they had dismantled the burned tin and timbers, hauled away the debris, refinished what could be saved and rebuilt a new roof. All of it done on Saturday except for the tin which was replaced in a few hours on Sunday morning.

It was extraordinary and magical to be a part of this labor of love. These guys had just finished a long work-week, yet they came willingly and cheerfully to work their asses off, without any breaks, when they could have been relaxing. I asked if they always worked so hard and was told: “not when we’re getting paid!”

Amazingly, those grueling hours flew by. We were all so high, literally on the roof, and figuratively full of energy and well-being, that no one wanted to go home afterwards. It felt so good to be there with one another after what we had done. It felt like it used to feel when I’d visit David, like I was in a house that love built.

Last weekend, I realized that the best part of David wasn’t dead, but thriving in the heart of every person he had touched. His friends, without hestitation, offered their help, their materials, their skills and resources, out of love and respect for the special man who was a king of “Love City.” I could feel David with us, beaming, as the guys sweated in the sun to repair the home he had spent his whole life on St. John building; the home he had finally completed and was so proud of. And, I know he is even more proud of this selfless tribute, carried out with such love and humility, by his true and noble friends.

David knew from a long ago teacher, about “the blues cure.” Whether you are bored, depressed, worried or deeply grieving the loss of a loved one, the blues cure is simply to do something for someone else. Anything will do, from a silent prayer, to rebuilding a burned roof…it works. I know it works because I saw and felt it working. I commented, that for the first time since David died, I had a day when I didn’t feel weighed down by grief and sadness. Even though we were all filthy with soot, sweat and sawdust we felt good and clean and ready for a celebration.

These don’t look like the faces of men whose best friend has been murdered, his son maimed, and his house torched. These are my brother’s face, shining with the deepest love and quiet pride born of selfless goodness…and a few Heinekens with your bros in the sun, too, I expect…(David made me write that!) I fell in love with all of them that day. They were extraordinary, their hard work, inspired by the highest motivation. They were awesome.

In this group photo, (that I thought to take after several of the guys had already left with faces just as radiant), they are standing in the very spot where cowardly evil once hid in the darkness waiting for its victims to fall asleep before striking. They are standing in the sunlight on the new roof they’d spent all day building out of the loving goodness of their hearts. I can see in their smiles and eyes that goodness truly is its own reward. And I’m reminded that out of the vilest manure grow the most gorgeous roses.

I want to thank you all who helped in so many ways to complete this wonderful project. I don’t know many last names and I’m sure I’ll leave out some altogether but you all know who you are. So, if I don’t mention you here please know that it is not for wanting to:
For materials, estimates, charge accounts, and the like, I thank St. John Hardware, Paradise Lumber and Fred Tracer. For helping empty out the debris before any of this could begin, I thank Bali Bob and Sara, Dana Carini and Julian, Tommy and Debbie, and others. For prep work thank you to Vince and Dana Carini. Lisa of Shane and Avi.

A deep thank you to the laborers of love who donated their weekend, skills, hard work and good cheer. Thank you to Mike and Rosemund, Pickle and Michelle, Todd, Demarra, (for the sandwiches and the ride to the ER), Nelson, Dave Dostall, Steve, Richard, (for working and the ride back from the ER), Bear Austin and Alicia, John Oh, and Sunday Nate, Raechel Geer and Phoenix (for endless trips for supplies to keep everyone hydrated and fed, for making lunch and for everything you have done in support these past months).

Most of all I wish to express a most heartfelt thank you to Nate Emmerich, who when he heard I planned to repair Davids house, even though I had no money and no idea how to begin such a project, said, “I’m all for doing that, too.” As the project manager, he took care of getting the materials and the crew together, he gave up every weekend to work on prepping the house, he gave me instruction on work I could do during his work week so we would always be moving forward, he made countless trips for hardware, lumber, and …beer. He made me laugh, he told me stories about my brother’s life that I would never have known, and most of all he reminded me that while there are ignorant people committing evil crimes in the world, there are far more people, like him, his friends and construction crew, committing far greater acts of loving kindness and selfless service. Thank you Nate and everyone. Love City is overflowing from all of you.

Gail Geiger