Last night I flew home from Detroit Auto Auction. It was so fantastic, it was very warm for the winter, but in kind it rained all day. We then had to take care of a lot of things and missed our flight. Well, that is not entirely true since we flew United. Our 3:40 flight was not even at the gate when we arrived at 4:40. That is my typical United experience. So MJ and I sat at the Bar (with 5 bar stools, we were in the old part of Detroit's airport, not the kickass NWA section). When I got home, Amanda was headed out with a friend from work so I had the house to myself. I settled in to watch some TV, take care of some e-bay crap, and go to bed. I looked at my e-mail, checked all of my blogs, the weather, the niners, my facebook, and then my myspace. In there was a message from my ex-girlfriend, more importantly, dear friend Meredith. The message read "can you please call me tonight." I walked to my phone with emmense trepidation.
I looked and I had 4 missed calls in the last hour from Meredith. I had no clue but I know she wouldn't do that unless something was seriously wrong. I called, said hello, as she started to sob I heard "Sergeant Libro is dead." I swallowed my heart to get it back in my chest.
Senior Master Sergeant Charles Libro USAF Ret. was my JROTC instructor at Independence High School from 1995-1999... he was my mentor for many years after that time, especially during my college years. He was a father-figure, teacher, advisor, enforcer, and advocate. He taught me leadership, confidence, tollerance, patience, and friendship. He taught this man much about how to be a man. Sarge took me to Hampton AFB, on that field trip we went to Busch Gardens, on a wicked roller coaster I lost my glasses, he almost caught them as they came off my face. He offered to call my mom and tell her it was his fault, he felt bad and didn't want me to be in trouble. (Lucky for me, my mom knew what she signed up for when she gave birth to boys, this would happen). Sarge took me to Charleston, thats when Meredith and I got together, He allowed me to sneak over to her room after lights out... just for a few seconds though. He really made me step up during the day, he demanded that I be a leader, I found my voice there. Most teachers you know for a year, you have them for one class. To convey Sarge's influence in my life, you must realize that I was taught by him as a freshman, again as a sophomore, I had two classes with him as a junior, and four, half of my senior year was spent with Sarge. 4 years, from 14 to 18 years old, he was my hero.
After high school he was still there fore me. I owe him my life, he is after all the one who talked me out of joining the Air Force. He made me realize that the AF had nothing that interested me and knew I would be unhappy there. I had a few very long conversations with him over winter break, I then dropped the class and changed my major. I am very thankful for that. Sarge was very supportive of my Carmax career and would call me at work about every two or three months, just to check on my and see how I am doing. He and I talked a couple days before I asked Amanda to marry me. The best piece of advice he ever shared with me (if you are under 18 or my mom, skip to the next paragraph please) : You should date a smoker sometime, if she'll put that thing in her mouth....
Sarge was good to my girls, he treated Dhara like a cadet when she would hang out with me and the Drill Team. Sarge adored Emily, he watched over her and took so much pride in all of her amazing success. Sarge was a grandpa to Meredith. He shared a special dance with her at her wedding. He is the reason she is a Lieutenant in the Air Force today. He was Nick's first salute from an enlisted man when he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in 2004. Sarge was the most influential person in many of my closest friends life, he was the greatest non-relative mentor I have ever had, and I am absolutely devistated at his passing. No plans are finalized, but I will be going to his funeral in North Carolina. I will let you know when I know.