Dave Hurt was a presence when he entered a room.
  He would look the room over, assess the situation and then with his big, booming voice, greet his friends. Everything about Dave was big — from his height to the way he loved his family. Mostly, his heart was big. He was one of America’s elite — a Special Forces Soldier — and had that air about him. But he never took himself too seriously. I have a picture in my mind of Dave at our church’s annual vacation bible school. Unlike the other men who help their wives out with their classes, Dave didn’t mind being a kid himself. I remember the year our theme was sports — Dave sported a whistle and marched his class of first-graders around like a crack team. On his head, he wore a tiny, plastic baseball hat that didn’t quite fit. And when it came to music, he was at the front of the line leading his little cherubs in the singing and dancing that is a trademark of vacation bible school. The other guys watched from the sidelines. That wasn’t Dave’s style.
  {mosimage}Dave loved being a soldier. He was good at it. For the past few years he was a trainer at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center. I got to see him in action one day and saw a totally different side of Dave. I walked up to a training site at Fort Bragg and heard a voice I recognized coming over a megaphone. It was Dave. He was pushing his soldiers to do better, to do more, to be the best. And his encouragement was somewhat colorful. I paused by one of his fellow trainers and said, “Hey, go tell that guy his Sunday School teacher is watching him.” I’ll never forget the look that crossed his face, and the good-natured laugh he always gave when I ribbed him about it later on.
   Dave liked to karaoke. He had a machine at his house and he was the first to grab the mic. One of his favorites was Johnny Cash. Did I mention that Dave really couldn’t sing? But that didn’t matter — he put everything he had into it.
   He did that with his family (real and extended). He always offered his best, and tried to take care of everyone he knew. Nothing was more precious to Dave than his beautiful wife Kelly, his daughter Avery and his son Wyatt. Everyone knew that.
   Dave loved God. He loved his church and his church family. No one questioned that.
   Dave loved his country. And this past week, he paid the ultimate price.
   Like the death of any soldier, Dave’s loss has been acknowledged by press releases and official notices in the daily newspaper. I would have been remiss to let his passing go unnoticed. You see, Dave was larger than life. He lived that way. He loved that way. For those of us who were lucky enough to know him and call him friend, our lives are a little darker, our hearts broken. In time, this part will pass. And I know when I think of Dave, I’ll see him in a loud Hawaiian shirt, dancing with our kids — always a little off beat.

Contact Janice Burton at editor@upandcomingweekly.com

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