I recently went through a tragedy I hope never happens again, to anyone.
A buddy of mine named Zak Larney was brutally assaulted outside a Cleveland night club late in July and later died after a hard fought battle in the hospital. I'd never wish something like that upon my worst enemy. Knowing it happened to a good person you grew up with is unthinkable and I don't know that I'll truly ever lose the scar. He fathered two beautiful children and lit up every room like you wouldn't believe. He was an incredible father and human. He was someone I always respected and looked forward to seeing. He will be deeply missed.
If you'd like to read more about the incident, you can follow the link HERE. I'd rather move on.
Zak's younger brother Josh was one of my best childhood friends. We were always goofing around and causing some kind of trouble or just being obnoxious. Zak was always there to put us in our place and I can honestly say he helped mold me in some ways. I was terrified of him then but I look back on it and wish I could thank him. He was in many ways an older brother to me.
When I heard of Zak's passing my thoughts immediately went to Josh and the Larney family. I was shattered. How the hell could they be handling this? Could they handle this (I'd later find out that YES, they are incredibly strong. I can honestly say I've never seen someone so strong as Zak's mom Debby during the funeral service. I'm holding back tears of raw emotion thinking of how strong she was and continues to be. I couldn't believe Josh's composure either.)? How do you be there for someone in such a situation, such a tragedy? It needed to transcend words. "Sorry for your loss", just wouldn't cut it this time. I needed Josh to know he was and will always be family to me. Something out of the ordinary.
Josh and I had a lot of jokes growing up but one really stood out. Josh had always been a sneaker head (someone who loves shoes) and he had always joked around about having his own shoe brand called, "Joshy's". We had an ongoing dialogue of what people would say when new releases of the shoe brand would come out (I really should attach an audio clip of some of the stuff we would say). "Hey man, you snag them new Joshy's? Them boys is hot." We'd crack up every time. I'm not entirely convinced Josh isn't still considering it...?
I have a friend who works on the production side of things at Saucony headquarters in Boston. I had an idea. I thought long and hard before I finally pulled the trigger and sent him an email that said something along the lines of "I know this is probably not realistic but I'd be willing to pay anything to have Saucony produce a pair of Joshy's", the whole time thinking I'm wasting my time as well as his. I just had to ask.
Within a matter of hours I got an email back from my buddy (he wished to be left anonymous) asking what colors Josh liked, what sizes I wanted them to make and that the team at Saucony was already on the job. He had read through Facebook about the tragedy and said he saw it as an honor and opportunity to give Josh any bit of happiness. "We're happy to help. I'll give you an ETA of the Joshy's as we just sent out the design. Should be a fairly quick turn around".
In a matter of weeks I had a package on my door with not only one pair of what I thought to be an impossible request in a pair of shoes but three, totally custom, incredible pairs of Joshy's designed by the unparalleled team at Saucony. One of which wouldn't even be released to the public until December (several months later). They really outdid themselves, jumped at the opportunity to help someone out and went over the top. I truly don't know that I could ever repay the team for the kindness they showed Josh and myself.
In a world where we move so fast and production and progress are priority, it's an incredible thought to know that a big name like Saucony is willing to kneel down and make a difference at such a personal, intimate level. Thank you so much.
If you'd like to consider a donation to Zak's family please follow the link HERE.
Please pray for the continued support and well being of the beautiful family Zak has. Rest easy.
As for you, Josh. I got two more things for you: