Monday, September 24, 2012

For Bob, Once More

I'm putting money on the table to support military families, and I hope my friends will join me.

A few years ago, the nation lost an outstanding naval officer and emergency physician to a tragic accident. I had huge respect for Commander Bob Goodwin as a professional colleague and friend. His dedication to freedom took him to Afghanistan in support of a dangerous mission in a hostile land. Not very long after his joyful return, when he was about to transfer to the 7th Fleet flagship, he died on one of our own nation's highways. Bob left behind a beautiful wife, two engaging young sons, loving parents and siblings, and an inspiring extended family.

Below is my original post on the day of Bob's funeral, just over two years ago.

On October 28, I will run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. To honor Bob's memory, I've established a donations webpage in support of Transition Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). This compassionate organization sets the high bar in service to families of deceased military members.

Please consider joining me in making a donation in Bob's memory, whatever you can afford to give.

Whether or not you choose to donate, please take a moment out of your life to reflect upon and honor the memory of all deceased military members, and the faithful families who mourn them.

Click Here to Donate

Original post July 8, 2010

By now anyone who has ears with which to hear or eyes with which to read knows that Bob Goodwin was a model naval officer, a stellar emergency physician, an enviable family man, and an exceptional human being. His untimely death represents a tragedy of a magnitude that defies mere human ken. Today as he is laid to rest, we all mourn the loss of him in our own way, and for our own reasons.

CDR Bob Goodwin, MC, USN (Deceased)

I had so looked forward to welcoming Bob aboard the 7th Fleet Flagship. 

I will miss working and collaborating with him as a fellow operational physician supporting our nation's forward deployed mission. Kathy and I both will miss Bob's and Bridget's friendship. We were eager to once again enjoy the Japan experience with their young family. We will miss sharing a part of their lives, and we will surely regret not watching Christopher and Paul grow up.

But Bob's life means so much more than the collegial friendship that this fellow naval officer and his spouse will miss. I cannot begin to fathom what Bob's wife and children are feeling today. Our hearts and prayers reach out to them. No words in any language suffice to express our emotions and thoughts as we vainly try to conjure up some sense in all this grief.

Considering all the lives that Bob touched, his patients, co-workers, students, friends, and family, we should stand in awe of this one man's tremendous impact on humanity. His was an exemplary life of service and love, truly a life to celebrate, even in death. 

The Navy describes itself as "a global force for good." Bob was truly such a force. We are fortunate to have had him with us, however temporarily.

So even as we mourn the loss of that good force that was Bob Goodwin, we also optimistically anticipate his continued impact after death. Perhaps he was taken from fellow mortals early in life so that his soul could be released to an even higher calling. And perhaps we who grieve his loss still have him in our lives, only in a different and more enduring way. Perhaps he has "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to protect his beloved family and honored friends and nation in a fashion that a mere human cannot do. In that we must believe, and for that blessing we must be grateful. Thus we have hope, and in that hope we can truly celebrate his life.

I'm a better man for having known you, Bob. Fair winds and following seas, Shipmate.

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