--^---@Kent--^---@

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As we approach December, my family gathers Christmas ornaments, decorates a tree, sings carols, and generally prepares for a bright holiday. Unfortunately, we also remember the tragic loss of my 26-year-old brother in a car accident in December of 1984. At the time of his death, Kent was a recently divorced, father of three (2 to 6 years old), who was learning to cope with single life again.

He enjoyed music and played the guitar, had lots of friends, and truly never met a person he didn't befriend. Those who knew him lost a bright spark in their lives when he died. Even though the memory of those first weeks is painful, there were several acts of kindness that go above and beyond what one would usually expect in sympathy. The owner of a local guitar shop waived the remainder of a fairly large loan balance for a guitar Kent had purchased through a payment plan. As my father tried desparately to locate a train set Kent had wanted to purchase for his two-year-old son for Christmas, the owner of a local Wal-Mart set aside the only set he had until we could get to the store and pick it up. Kent's employer put up a bulletin board in their office with pictures of him--especially touching for his twin brother who worked for the same company. We will never forget Kent, never forget the tragedy of his loss; but we also will never forget the generosity of the human spirit as it reaches out in compassion to others.

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