Most of the people you encounter during your life are just flickers of light. However, a select few are consistent glows for years or even a lifetime. There are only a handful of people who can enter your world, and touch your life in such a dramatic fashion, that your life is forever changed. Andy was one of those special people. He was a unassuming, kind, and caring person, who enjoyed life and lived each day as if it was his last. He was a loving son, committed soul mate, devoted and caring father, and a supportive friend. He would help anyone he came across and asked nothing in return. I know he would have been overwhelmed by all the beautiful flowers, he would have been overwhelmed by the magnificent video his family created. Most of all he would have been overwhelmed by all the love of his family and friends that came together to celebrate his life. And oh how he lived.
As a storm chaser, Andy was a legend. He had a sixth sense when it came to tornadoes, He was able to get extremely close; he got pictures and video the rest of us in the storm chasing community were envious of. His footage was often seen on The Weather Channel and many other national television outlets. His footage was exhilarating. But he wasn't out there only to experience natures awesome power and beauty. He was out there to warn those in harm's way. He knew a storm chasers first responsibility was to report what was going on, and help those you could. Andy pursued storms as he lived life, with passion, courage, and more than a little wonder. Wherever there was a severe storm, you could be pretty sure Andy was somewhere near. When you looked at the GPS dots around the storm, you knew the one that was the closest was most likely Andy. He was the same way around his loved ones and friends, when he was with you it felt like you were the only one that mattered. He was always quick with a smile, or a piece of advice. He had generosity with no bounds; going out of his way to help a friend in need. Being the kind of person he was, I feel he would be amazed by the amount of tears, sadness and tremendous loss those who knew him feel.
Although, he was two weeks shy of his 25th birthday; He did more than many of us could do in ten lifetimes. The legacy he leaves behind is not only a sweet three year old daughter. He will not only be remembered as a great storm chaser. I feel his true greatness was he showed us how to live life. That no matter what you want out of life; you have to pursue it with passion. You can't be afraid of what might happen, to always listen and treat others respectfully without losing your voice in the process. Andy did what most of us should, live life to the fullest, always let those around you know they're loved and appreciated, and to live every moment as if it were your last.
My thoughts are with those who knew him best, Greg, Joanne, Ashley, and Reegan, May God bless all of you and grant you comfort.
Farewell Andy you made a difference, you may be gone temporally from our sight, but you will never be forgotten.