I never met Major Chuck Creech and for that I am most sorry. I heard a lot about Chuck and his wife Sara from my sister Traci, who counts them among her most treasured friends. Chuck was a military man who served our country with great pride and distinction. He earned two Meritorious Service Medals for outstanding performance and four Air Medals for combat flights. He served in Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. At MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, he was responsible for supporting seven combatant commanders.
Recently, at age 36, he lost a hard fought battle with cancer. This is an excerpt of Sara’s eulogy about a man who dedicated his short life to protecting the rest of us:
Chuck had many loves in his life: the military and flying fueled his passion for the last decade and a half. He didn’t work for the military, he lived and breathed it! A few months ago we were talking and he reminded me that EVERY time he puts on his uniform, he knows that there is a chance he will be trading his life for his country. Many times the enemies are plentiful and the dangers are obvious. Sometimes, though, we are forced to confront the unknown and unexpected consequences. Chuck faced those with the same determination and force as in any military conflict he served in. This time though, the fight wasn’t for his country. No, this time it was for his family, for his children, for his wife. I can honestly say that what kept him fighting over the last few difficult months was the desire to protect and care for his family. He wanted them to know…to truly grasp the idea that he would give his life for any one of them…
Chuck was never interested in the accolades. I think it even embarrassed him. Whenever someone tried to honor him, he would turn around and make it something special for those around him. So here it is…the lesson he wants us to learn from him.
None of us will have a perfect life. There will always be conflict, always be tragedy, always disappointment and sadness. But there will also be incredible moments that make this life worthwhile. For Chuck that meant realizing his dream of attending the academy, being able to fly and get paid for it, holding each child for the first time, marrying his true love, buying his first boat, catching the big fish…Chuck’s motto for fishing was the same for his life: “…just five more minutes.” What we need to do is to find love and hold onto it with all our might. Find those things that drive your passion and gives your life purpose …No excuses. Grab life by the horns and ride the crap out of it.