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The Sibling Connection

MY BROTHER JOEL

I will always remember my brother Joel as the most kind-hearted person that I ever knew.

We grew up 13 months apart, so we always had the same group of friends and hung out a lot together in high school and after. Of course, in high school, (as most boys are) he was a bit rebellious and got into occasional trouble (nothing major) with his friends from school. After high school, he quickly grew out of that.

Even since he was a small boy, he LOVED working on cars, taking them apart and putting them back together. He was always helping his friends during high school with their cars/trucks. After high school, he went to school to become a mechanic, and did very well. He opened a mechanic shop with my dad, and did all the work himself, and got a very good reputation very quickly.

When he was not working, his other `love' was fishing and hanging out with his friends. At least 4-5 times out of the week, after work, he would take his boat to the river and just ride or fish with his friends. He was the most kind-hearted person that I ever knew.

He was anyone's friend, no matter what kind of problems or disabilities you had. He had a huge heart, which brought him to meeting a neighbor's son -- a 15-year old boy (Josh) who had cerebral palsy. He didn't have many friends, and stayed home a lot with his parents, so Joel took him out on the boat with him to ride just to put a smile on his face.

The one last time they enjoyed a boat ride, it turned tragic, and Josh fell out and my brother jumped right in without thinking to save him. Someone noticed a boat circling around, and two heads in the water and called 911. The coast Guard went out, and got Josh first before he would drown, and by the time they did, Joel had gone under and hadn't come up. They finally found his body 3 days later. It was the most agonizing 3 days of our lives. I am glad that they did find him though, or I never would have had closure.

At the funeral, one of his high school friends got up and made the most heart breaking speech, telling us how after all these years of not having contact, the last 2 months of Joel's life, they met up and would go out on the boat. He told of how my brother had changed so much, that he loved his life so much and seemed just so happy with his life at that point.

It's weird, because he had lost touch with so many of his high school friends, and the last 2 months, 4 or 5 different people from the past met up with him and had time to spend with him before he died. Even my father took some time off from his job to work with him at his shop for 2 full months, and is so glad he had that time with Joel.

The thing I remember about him most is his laugh, he always put a smile on someone's face with his laughter and his great personality. Sometimes I think I still hear his laugh. He had so many friends and loved ones, we will miss him so much.

Read more about Joel at http://www.joel-davis.memory-of.com






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