As the transition from 2022 to 2023 was approaching, the family and friends of Eric Tentis, along with Eric himself, knew that another transition was unfortunately approaching. You see, a couple of years before, Eric had been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer…and after what can only be described as a valiant and courageous fight, his time on this side of eternity was drawing to a close.
A friend of our own Brian George, Eric, and his family were introduced to us during this time. A lover of his family, a Warrior, selfless, kind, gentle giant...all ways that he was described. One more phrase was used to talk about Eric, and that was "avid Minnesota Vikings fan"...and this fan had one last wish. With that, let's look at a brief timeline...
Thursday, December 22, 2022 - 12:44pm
Brian George (our Connections Lead) sent us a text message from Eric's wife, Carolyn, laying out the prognosis, recent developments, and what seemed like a long-shot request.
Thursday, December 22, 2022 - Early evening sometime.
Our Eric (VP of EveryWarrior) makes the above-mentioned long shot request public on our socials generating a bunch of comments, shares, and private messages. I say "a bunch" because I literally lost count over the next few days of how many folks tagged a friend, sent messages, made phone calls, and worked to help make this request a long shot.
Sunday, December 25, 2022 - 10:06am
I'm actually sitting in church and get a message on FB Messenger from one of our Warriors, Kevin Harrison.
Sunday, December 25, 2022 - around 10:15am
Eric and I get the same video sent to us from Brian, who apparently got it from Kevin as well. When I say I nearly fell out of the chair I was sitting in, I mean it.
Monday, December 26, 2022 - 9:44am
Brian shares the video with us of his friend Eric watching the video message sent to him by Minnesota Vikings Quarterback, Kirk Cousins.
Who would have thought that a Christmas gift like this could have happened? Not many to be honest. Not because it's not important, but in all honesty, we do tend to dismiss things when they just seem out of reach. Eric's story is one that displays the power of many and the power of one, all at the same time.
One person (Eric) made a wish.
One person (his wife) made it known.
One person (Brian) took hold of the need.
Among many other "one persons" trying to help, one person (Kevin) saw a potential solution.
He asked one person, who knew another person, who got word to another person.
One person (Kirk) took the time to make a difference in the life of another person he didn't even know and would never meet.
All because one person took it upon themselves to see what they could do to help.
What's even more amazing is the fact that this is not the only thread that was started like this. Carolyn's desire to see this happen for her husband activated many other people, and each and every thread, while the outcomes were all different, the roads led somewhere meaningful.
In the early morning hours of January 10, Eric, with his wife holding his hand, stepped into eternity. The above sequence of events is a very small part of a life that is still influencing others today, and will for years and years to come. While there are days that seem like grief and heartache have filled the hole left by his presence, every day that those who loved him live their lives, they point to a man who loved big and who influenced well.
What can happen when you see a need and consider "ya know, I may be able to help..."? What started with one man turned into a countless number of people fighting on behalf of someone they don't even know.
This need was not met by calling in favors or by us calling famous folks that we don't even know...nope, a bunch of normal, genuinely good, everyday people impacted the lives of a military family facing the worst moments of their lives at what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Everyday normal heroes, from Brian and Eric, the sharers and taggers on Facebook, the commenters and callers, to Kevin and Kirk, and the ones who even said "I may not can make a connection, but I can send a care package to the family"...every single one of these people are all examples of what CAN happen.
Today, like Eric did throughout his life, let your CAN overpower your CAN NOT.