Friday, February 9, 2018

PERSONAL REFLECTION: The Tempe COMMUNITY Says Goodbye To Two Shining Stars In Two Days

Community. The Tempe and East Valley Community. Bettering the Tempe and East Valley Community.

That was the common theme in the two funerals I attended in the last two days, for two very different people. And, there is much to learn and be inspired by from the services and that common theme.

On this blog/passion project, I focus on the political community and the communities that our elected officials are very visible and important leaders of. Neither of these individuals were part of the political community.

However, both were important community-builders and community-protectors in their different ways.

Alan Blau was a long-time Tempe accountant who helped individuals and small businesses in Tempe grow and grow the roots of an inter-connected community. He and his wife and his children have been key builders of the Tempe/East Valley Jewish community.

Alan's son, Aaron, emphasized that "community" - or, "Kehillah", the Hebrew word for it - was a key value that his father promoted and passed on. And, the overflow community of people at a Thursday afternoon service at Temple Emanuel affirmed that.

Tempe Fire Captain Kyle Brayer is being laid to rest today after being shot and killed this past weekend. Although he was only 34, my friend's words about his son also emphasized the community-building and community-protecting that Kyle had done the past
10 years. Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Chief Greg Ruiz's words emphasized that.

He had only been a Tempe Firefighter for the past 10 years, after serving as a U.S. Marine in Iraq. And, he had not lived in Tempe before that. But, in addition to his duties protecting the community as a firefighter, he took on mentoring, teaching and other tasks that further strengthened the Tempe community. And, he was fiercely Tempe First, insisting that his family spend every possible dining and entertainment dollar in Tempe.

Alan Blau and Kyle Brayer were very different people. But, that is how a community is built. With many very different people who are not in it (just) for themselves. They are in it to protect, to build, to strengthen the rest of the community.

I have known Alan and his family from years of board work, preschool and sharing at community events. I only knew Kyle from the updates I received from his proud Pops over several years (the hockey and the Marines chapters).  But I - and, more importantly, our community - will miss them both greatly.

Fortunately, they both helped build and strengthen the community... and inspire many others to continue that work in our very different ways.

--Paul Weich

Donations to honor the life and community-protecting and community-building of Kyle Brayer can be made to Tempe Firefighters Charities, and to honor the community-building and community-strengthening of Alan Blau, to the East Valley Jewish Community Center or Temple Emanuel of Tempe.

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