One must be careful how he or she uses their platform. Accolades may be percieved as bias. So consider this what I would have said.
Early reputations often give way to later revelations. What once looked like a sure hit could not bear up under the weight of expectations, be they internal or external. Not so with the young man we honor today.
Everyone knew this young man, at least most in the small community of which we have now been a part for more than twenty years. Leader. Affable. Optimistic. Charismatic. He was in high school. I knew him from a distance. We knew him through our students. His popularity may have been unrivaled. I doubt he walked on water though.
A few years after first spotting Nathan on the Tuttle High School campus we met formally. Eager to impact young people his age, very early 20's at the time, he called asking if we could chat. We met up later that day and without offering every detail, we soon established a mutual admiration society. Shared respect. Fast friends.
Consider me flattered. Why? Nathan comes from a fine family. His Papaw served as our Construction Manager for a large project at Snow Hill. Troy is gold. Nathan's Dad, Kenny, and I are not separated by too many years. We have shared several great conversations. I am not sure there is a tighter family around. His grandmothers and mother represent huge investors. That a young fellow with these assets thought some fellow he did not know might have something helfpul to offer will not be soon forgotten. And, it said something early about Nathan.
He learned what it meant for others to add value to his life and he was eager to see how he might in turn add value to others. I am sure he would have done well on his own. But, to live out what shared life looks like he built and continues to build a network of people who have become co-conspirators of goodness adding value to life and lives.
Nathan would shun such accolades. He would prefer someone else get the attention, the notariety. He would simply acknowledge his attempt to be faithful to the image of God in him and his pursuit of a life that looks like Jesus. Humble. Generous.
Last night I was privileged to present Nathan with an award from the Tuttle Area Chamber of Commerce – Entreprenuer of the Year. When someone on the Board nominated him, I responded that it might not be appropriate for me to voice my opinion since we work together. But, if they did not mind, I would not hesitate to cast my vote. Unanimously the Board voted Nathan the honor. Well-deserved.
Yes, Nathan sounds like a perfecf person. Nope. He is not. I have not met anyone satisfied that they have reached a level personally and professionally who would welcome the description. But, he is complete as one who understands that life is to be valued and where we may add value to others we should.
One last note, and maybe more important, Carrie, Nathan's wife, shares Nathan's big heart, big dreams, and eagerness to care for and add value to others. They are a team, and a great one at that. What Nathan earned as the person who gets seen in the many businesses in which they share, Carrie helps carry.
Congratulations to you both!
And, thank you for the value you have added and continue to add to my life, our family, our church, and our community.