The community college where I work lost an employee last week that left the whole campus reeling. Lamont Kinney didn't have a high-powered job that grossed him a large salary. He didn't have a lot of degrees attached to his name. What he did have was a huge heart, one that made him the most loved person on campus. Students, staff and faculty alike turned to Lamont for security, help and friendship. It was as if he derived his energy from taking care of others.
His passing made the front page of the local newspaper. The reporter, Amy Fuhrman, summed it up with her opening: 'The gates of Heaven are surely shining a little brighter, the angels’ welcome must be a little warmer and there are certainly no lost souls left to wander.' If there were, Lamont would find them and guide them home.
At least, one student credits his education to this dear man. When he came on campus for the first time, alone and unsure, with no one to help him, Lamont took him under his wing. The student said later, he would never have gotten his education if it weren't for Lamont. Another student said his dad passed when he was fifteen and Lamont became his father figure. And so it went.
The school president not only attended his funeral but spoke at it.
It both humbles and awes me that this man was capable of sharing himself with so many and doing it with a 'glad heart.' He gave a piece of himself to everyone he came in contact with. And he came in contact with many. Knowing Lamont was both a gift and a responsibility. A gift of friendship. A responsibility to pay it forward. His mantra: 'I'm here to make a difference.'
"Lamont, you succeeded beyond your wildest expectations. Till we meet again."
|Campus Memorial Monday, Oct 6, 2014|