In a time of a crisis, when money is tight, jobs are uncertain and people are looking for any kind of ray of light, it's hard to find room for compassion sometimes.
But not when it concerns the Homestead and North Shore area girls track community. Just a sad two weeks past the funeral for Highlander distance coach Andy Edington, the kindness and the funds continue to flow in for his family.
Take what happened at Homestead's traditional powerhouse Lady Highlander Invitational.on May 9.
The t-shirts created for the event were customized to honor Edington and all proceeds, including specialized lettering, was to go to the family. Also consider the fact that it was a dreary, chilly day, with occasional rain and blustery, unseasonable winds.
"They were still printing and taking orders as people were leaving," coach John Krueger said. "We were thinking that we sold upwards of 150 shirts, and it didn't end there. People were coming up and just flat-out giving donations. There really was a statement being made today."
Then there was the meet program, which had a small inscription from one of the distance runners, whom Edington coached. It went very much like all the lovely sentiments that were written on a student-created poster that was on display at the funeral. The inscription talked about his passion for both sports and science, used a couple of his well-worn and beloved trademark statements and remarked about how everyone is missing him and will continue to go on missing him.
The writer wished to remain anonymous.
It was a carryover from the spirit that was generated when the Highlanders won the North Shore Conference Relays at Grafton on May 6. There was discussion there of the team creating wristbands, similar to the "Team Together" bands that became a staple in the area following the tragic death of beloved basketball coach John Chekouras three years ago.
People stopped for a moment to reflect on Edington's life and its purpose. He gave his all to his family, his children and then to the students and athletes in his charge. The best tribute, thought boys coach Dan Benson, would be to carry on serving those students as best as possible.
"The only thing I can see to do is to continue on teaching, coaching and working as hard as you can," he said. "Do your job to the best of your ability and do everything possible that you can do to be a credit to his spirit."
The students seemed to be taking that idea to heart at the Lady Highlander.
"At the chapel (the wake), kids were walking up to her (Edington's widow) and thanking her so much for "sharing him with us'," said Krueger's wife Heather, a long-time coach and educator herself. "That showed just so much depth on their part."
"I'm just so proud of the kids, because they really get it."
A fund for Edington's family has been set up through M and I Bank and can be contributed to through any branch in the area.