Our friend: Alex NB
Alex had a passion that was so pure, and so deep it changed the course of many of our lives. He was one of the most curious and inquisitive people I’ve ever knwn. Where most of us would raise an eye-brow, interest peaked at a new concept or activity, Alex would be outside making it happen, that moment. And for so many of us it was impossible not to want to follow along.
We all have lists of hilarious, breathtaking, and even painful examples of this. I remember spending nearly a week in the creek down below the NB’s house, plotting out the course, exploring life under every rock and stick, wading a little further each day until we finally popped out of a grating next to CVHS. We were filthy, bleeding, and starving, but with our newfound knowledge, we felt rich, running home, excited for more, planning our next expedition.
Alex was a master in so many domains, attaining incredible levels of skill in time frames we could all only dream of. I asked him once if he blood doped, but I’m pretty sure it was all-natural, fueled by enthusiasm, hard work, peanut butter and watermelon juice. But Alex didn’t hoard these skills, he was a teacher, an encourager and a guide. He pushed us all to better ourselves constantly, but he did so in the gentlest, most loving of ways. He wasn’t the heavy-handed coach, over your shoulder, berating you. Instead he was leading by example, showing how far you could go, but how easy it could be for you to get there, feeling good the whole way.
Again, I’m sure you can all reflect on hundreds of such examples, I can definitely think of a few. Following Alex over the ledge of some Hawaiian reef-breaks I didn’t think I was ready for, only to come out on the other side smiling, laughing, with a high five waiting. Climbing the 3rd peak when my legs were telling me that two was more than enough. Pushing a little harder to find out what was around the next bend or the next cove when your thoughts had already turned to dinner, being rewarded with a waterfall, a sunset or an incredible moment.
Looking at the things that I hold as important today, as a nearly 31 year-old newly wed, I realize that Alex NB played a instrumental role in so very many of them. Although geography and time put us in different places, the influence he has on my life has only grown. I’m sure that as you all think back on your experiences and adventures with Alex this holds true.
I’m sad I couldn’t be in Corvallis today, gathering with such an amazing group of friends, family, and familiar strangers, all connected by the love we share for Alex and the incredible impact he has on all of us, celebrating our wonderful friend. But somehow I know Alex would much rather I be out in the world doing the things that I’m passionate about, the things that drive me, and doing them to the absolute fullest of my ability. As I sit in an airport in Turkey, on my way co Uganda, Alex feels closer than ever.
Pat, Buzz, Adam, McHale, I will be thinking about you, hoping to see you soon, reliving so many good times and good memories, thank you for everything.
Be well my friends, enjoy this beautiful day, enjoy and appreciate one another, and give someone you love a hug from me.
I love you all