Today I’m grateful for this man.. most people call him “Coach”, but Will Hawes is so much more then that. He has been so much to so many people. To me he’s been a friend and a mentor. We’ve had some incredible talks about his life experiences, his walk with God and I’ve picked his brain when I needed advice about something. We met when we both worked at LCA. He was a teacher, coach and mentor. Like me, he was also a host parent to many kids over the years. His heart was to pour into their lives and show them God’s love. One particular young man from Germany completely did a 180 largely because of the love, commitment and time Will spent pouring into his life. Will often wasn’t given the opportunity to run with the ideas he had and I don’t feel he was really fully given the chance to do what his heart wanted to do, which was take kids under his wing and love and mentor them. But he’s gone on to continue and further his God given gift of teaching, mentoring, preaching and unconditional love to touch the lives of those he comes in contact with. I’m proud and honored to have worked with him for the same cause. And although I don’t see he and his wife Kathryn much anymore, I’ll always consider them dear friends and I have no doubt that wherever he is or whatever he’s doing, Will is pouring into the lives of kids and doing what he knows how to do. Love God and love people. I’m thankful for you my friend. Thank you for being down in the trenches with me and doing it with such joy and passion. -Linda Gross
This letter was shared with me, so I am sharing it with you. Here is why:
When you measure a man, start where you will, and end up where you will, but get to the heart. In the case of Will Hawes, no matter where you start or finish, inside or out, into the heart and outward, he is LARGE. Almost superhuman. And the energy that hits you from him, even from a distance, is all consuming. He is part Giant, part elf, and all purpose. He possesses a spirit that is only out-shined by his his over sized shadow, which is there as a signal of attention before he gets there, and a reminder of his path crossing yours afterwards. And no matter what the path led, it would be forever changed and bettered by your crossing his.
An athlete of talent, drive, and IQ to match his imposing height and mass. A wrecking ball of manhood, and the ability to set a foundation with it for all of those in his orbit to base their direction and purpose with. To call him a gentle giant might be a disservice to his ability to wreak havoc on nonsense and malaise. He is all love, and often, love is loud. It is often forceful. It is often driven and direct. And in that, is brilliance. The kind of brilliance that changes paths and direction, that changes ways and meanings, that changes lives and living.
As a leader of young people, he goes first. He has gone first. And that is leadership. That is command. That is needed. He makes it easy for those in his charge to trust. He makes it easy for them to believe. He makes it easy for them to be authentic. Most importantly, he makes it easier for them to love and be loved. He cheers truth and character. He understands flaws and mistakes, but redirects and leads anew, and that is from his heart.
He loves. He cares. He matters. And, he is authentic. As a coach, he is in it for the right reasons. He loves. He cares. He matters. He is authentic.
My brother. My Brother’s Keeper. My man. My dude. My partner in love crimes. His LovePrints are covering the world in love. And he is covered in them.
Thank you Linda. Thank you Coach.
We need and love you both!