The horrific numbers being reported during this epidemic, pandemic are unreal and like nothing most of us have seen in our lifetime, but to many, they are just that, numbers. They do not represent the lives, loves, and losses people across the world are all dealing with. This country beat that by so many and that one is on the rise. We are bot counting with numbers, but with bodies.
We are not sure when this pandemic will hit us personally, but most of us realize there is a human factor with COVID-19. It is with saddened hearts this morning that we try and come to grips with a loss to our Broward County family, our LGBTQ family, our human family.
I personally met Shannon only about 6 times in my 6 years of being a resident of Broward County, but it would only take one to know him well. Each time I was fortunate enough to be in the same space as him, it was like meeting that friend you’ve had since elementary school, the one that wants to know you are doing well, the one that listens intently to you, the one that deeply cares. The announcement of his passing was hard to read and listen to today.
There are many tributes to Shannon online, many fond farewells on Facebook, being tagged in Instagram reposts, but putting down into words what he meant, what anyone means to you, that’s impossible, but I will tell you about the last time I met Shannon … it all seems surreal right now.
One of my best friends and I walked into GYM Bar in Wilton Manors, Florida, and Shannon was there with some close friends and his fiance. He greeted us with his great smile and big hugging arms. We shared words about his upcoming wedding in December, his proposal in Disney last year, laughed over stories of his fiance and family planning out all the details of the nuptials, the fun they were having, the little kooky stories involving the roommate. But throughout the conversation, in my mind, no joke, I was saying to myself, this is a man that I would love to have as a good friend. His life was an open book like his arms and his heart. He truly wanted to know about your life and that you were doing well.
I already knew he cared as he seemed to care for everyone he met, and the feelings were real. He was wired to be the best person you may ever meet, there was no question he was a great School Resource Officer, and there was no doubt he was a great representative of our community. And there is no doubt we lost a great fellow human this weekend.
Sheriff Gregory Tony speaks about Sheriff Bennett and what the Broward County Sheriff’s Office is dealing with in reagrd to COVID-19.
Our public servants are putting their lives on the line for us every day. Our police, fire, medical, these are amazing people for what they do. May their sacrifices never be forgotten. You will be missed, Shannon.