Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the Eric Ciucci benefit in Hennepin. Eric was somebody who touched my life and the lives of countless others from the Putnam County community and beyond.
I was tasked with taking pictures of the benefit for this publication. As I sat down at my computer Saturday night to look through the pictures, the idea to write this came to me.
The flyer for the event said this was a day to celebrate families and that it did. Everywhere I looked, I saw happy, smiling families enjoying the beautiful day.
For the 17 years I have lived on this earth, the only town I’ve lived in is Hennepin. My parents have always told me how great of a community we live in and Saturday confirmed that. While serving food under the pavilion, I looked around and I didn’t just see families, I saw business owners from around the county who donated their time and resources to make this event a success and to make it a profitable fundraiser for the Educational Foundation.
I remember looking at Jay McCracken and saying to him how truly great this day was and how great of a community we live in. The giving nature of this area is one in a million. This wasn’t a day to mourn, this was a day to celebrate families. One of the amazing things about this community is how we come together in times of need.
The most heartwarming sight I saw Saturday was the smiles on Eric’s family’s faces. That alone made the day all worth it. It wasn’t the golf cart race, the bouncy house, or even the ice cream eating contest, it was the ability to make his family happy.
Every time I saw Eric, he was always smiling. He always had a positive attitude that could make your day better. I remember distinctly during my time as a high school golfer when Eric came over to me on the driving range at Edgewood and watched me send ball after ball to the right. As frustrating as it must have been for him to watch me keep slicing it, he never dropped his positive attitude. He helped me fix it and make me a better golfer. He wasn’t my coach, yet he took the time out of his practice to help me.
There are very few people in my life who I can honestly say touched my life, and Eric was one of them. One of the hardest things I have done thus far in my life was attend his funeral, and I will forever cherish every encounter I had with him.