Friday, October 18, 2013

Neff Strong!


It's amazing how things really bring us in touch with our own mortality.  Earlier this week, I found out that, for the first time in my life, I need to get progressive lenses in my glasses.  It was news that I really didn't want to hear.  Why?  Because it means that I'm getting old.  I'm one step closer to being in the grave.  I'm already dealing with a receding hairline (Or should I say receded hairline.  It's already up and gone), creaking knees, sore joints, and all the other malaises that go along with getting older.  The progressive lens thing was just going to make it easier for me to see the grim reaper when he comes.  I was feeling pretty poorly about the news all week.  It was a week long pity party all about me.  Up to this latest "diagnosis", I was feeling pretty good about my longevity … at least since the last diagnosis which made me feel old.  Yeah, I was having a good ole time wallowing in my own self-pity.  Then I heard about Lacy.
It always seems that when I am deep in my own selfishness, that is when I always hear about someone I know who is in far worse shape than I am.  Then I not only feel foolish, but I feel utterly ashamed.  For those of you who don't know, I spent several years in radio broadcasting before joining the ranks of the IT community.  During my time in broadcasting, I can't remember ever meeting a better on-air personality than Lacy Neff.  If you live anywhere near Morgantown, WV, then you know about Lacy Neff.  He is a household name in Northern West Virginia.  Lacy has been on WVAQ-FM for well over twenty-five years.  In broadcasting, that is unheard off.  As program director of WVAQ, it was Lacy's leadership that helped WVAQ win the Marconi Award for best station a few years ago.  I worked with Lacy at WVAQ in the late nineties.  He is one of those people that is always willing to stop and talk to you, no matter what else is going on.  He was, and still is absolutely fantastic with his listeners.  And, everyone in town knows who he is.  You can't go anywhere with him where someone doesn't shout out "Hey Lacy!"  We didn't always see eye-to-eye, but I have a tremendous amount of great memories from my time working with him.

I remember having conversations with him late into the night in the studio about my faith.  This was a topic that came up between us occasionally.  It was one of those topics that I mentioned earlier.  Our opinions on faith and God varied greatly.  But, there was one thing that he was really good at.  He was good at making me dig deeper in my faith.  He always had a tough question to ask that made me have to rethink what I knew, and dive deep to find an answer.  We lost touch after I left WVAQ.  I only ever saw him again a few years ago when I was invited back for a "Class Reunion" weekend at the station.  He hadn't changed.

Today, I found out that Lacy Neff has Amyloidosis, and is fighting for his life at the Cleveland Clinic.  I felt ashamed of my weeklong pity party.  Having to get progressive lenses is nothing compared to what he is currently enduring.  It makes one reflect on how frail life really is.  One comes to the conclusion that each diagnosis is not necessarily a step closer to the grave, but just another challenge to be overcome.  I've been reading up on his Facebook postings, and he is fighting a hard fight, but in hardship something good often rises.  Lacy's community of listeners have rallied behind him.  It is amazing to see the number of comments posted on his site.  He has impacted so many lives in the Morgantown area over the years, and now they are all giving back to him with love and friendship in his darkest hour.

So, I'm getting progressive lenses.  So what?  It's not the end of the world.  I'm going to proudly take my progressive lenses and stand behind Lacy Neff.  I'll be praying for you, Lacy.  Stay Neff Strong!

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