Gary

January 9, 2020

 

I met Gary DeGennaro only a few months ago. I noticed through social media that he was doing some work for Camp Fire survivors so I reached out to him about getting some donations up to Magalia. He'd purchased a huge box truck through the nonprofit he started, Lifeline Disaster Relief, and was making regular runs up to the fire-ravaged areas with goods for survivors.
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We met, he loaded up his truck, and off he went. This was a regular occurrence for us. He was always ready and willing to help in any way he could and seemed genuinely excited to have the opportunity. He was always smiling, even when I was pretty sure he was pulling muscles.
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Gary was deeply religious and felt called to do the work that he did. His devotion and energy were inspiring. Every time we met to load up his truck for a delivery we would promise to get together soon for a proper meal and conversation that wouldn’t involve manual labor. He was the kind of guy that I just knew had amazing stories to share, and I so wanted to hear them. But we never got together for that meal. We only knew each other a few months.
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A couple months ago Gary was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He fought so hard, but in the end his poor body couldn't take any more.
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I was looking for a photo of Gary and I realized all I have are pictures of him moving stuff on and off his truck - Gary was always getting stuff done. I did manage to get him to slow down long enough to do an interview for the local TV station when we were up in Paradise, so I got one picture of his time in front of the camera (with all the pallets he had just moved in the background).
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11 weeks ago I posted a poem on Facebook that I found quite beautiful. It is about death, but more about surviving after someone has passed. Gary commented on it. I don't think he even knew he was sick yet. And now he's gone.
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Gary was a good man. In the short time I knew him he made me want to be a better person, because his spirit seemed so at peace with the work he was doing and the beautiful life he had built. Let's all strive to be a little more like Gary. Show up where you can, do what you can, smile, repeat.
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Godspeed.

 

 

 

 

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Dawn is a mom, writer, and designer from Sacramento, CA. She is tired.

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