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Celebrating life of the common man

Have you stopped to think of the people in your life who make the hardest tasks possible?

On Jan. 22, I traveled to the home of a long-term member of our company, Russell McGuire, to visit as he had just started hospice care because of his battle with cancer.

McGuire was engaged in commercial construction projects with us for nearly 30 years, normally in a support role. Now, he was battling for his life with his loved ones at his side.

Two years prior to my visit to McGuire’s house, I was in the beginning stages of what would be one of our most challenging professional projects.

We were working toward the completion of a student housing facility that was behind schedule.

We were in the midst of a severe winter and up against a deadline that could not be adjusted because a move-in date had already been promised to hundreds of incoming students.

The specter of the project weighed heavily on me, and I needed people that I could count on to deliver the project as promised to the owner and its ultimate occupants.

McGuire was one of those that I could count on and arguably one of the rocks on which the project’s ultimate success would rest.

McGuire did all of the little things that make any major endeavor a success. He was on the job site since the beginning, worked six and sometimes seven days a week, and you knew that you could count on him. If work was happening on the site, he would be there and always with a positive attitude.

McGuire was one of those who enabled me to do my job because I knew that I could count on him to do his. He completed tasks without complaining, all while displaying his “can-do” attitude.

The week after I visited McGuire at his home, Kobe Bryant died in a terrible accident with his daughter, Gianna.

The accident and its result was such a shock to so many that it made them stop and share how much Bryant had meant to their lives, and to expound on all the aspects that made Kobe — basketball player and public figure — the great that he was, and how they felt about his quest to be just as great a father.

Seven others also perished in the crash who were unknown to the public.

To me, the relative absence of the same type of outpouring for the others on board was conspicuous, especially when I knew that McGuire and his family were in the midst of their own battle.

For greatness to happen — people, events or accomplishments — it takes support and roles to be fulfilled from the foundations up.

For example, if Bryant was to be great on the basketball floor, the arena must be built and maintained.

The sport, its league, all the feeder leagues, participants and support personnel must work so he could perform.

The connections to society are endless, but all of this takes people.

Corinthians 12: 20 and 26 say, “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body;” and “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

From our family at Leonard S. Fiore Inc., I would like to thank all of those who go about their lives doing common work in an uncommon way so that we all can see uncommon and special results.

LSF, just like other local companies, is one body made of many members, and we all feel the absence of the people who pass away and have made great things happen in the humble work they do.

Russell McGuire died Feb. 3 after a physical battle that he fought with grace and dignity. He was 62. To me and confirmed by those who knew and loved him, he was a kind, positive and loving man on which we all could rely.

His story was not one that we would find in the headlines but one that commonly goes unnoticed.

For all of the front-page news that we see, celebrate and share, there is a back story of uncommon people who make the headlines visible for all of us to see.

God bless all those who have lost love ones that are dear to them. There is nothing common about our love for those who we love.

In a special way, we would like to remember Russell McGuire for showing us by his example.

Patrick Irwin is L.S. Fiore’s vice president of construction.

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