Good Sunday morning, everyone! Another mass shooting with many lives lost in Virginia a few weeks ago, it’s unimaginable. Going to work as they always did; it should have been a safe place. The shooter, also employed with the city of Virginia Beach, was described as a quiet, polite guy, a “nice guy.”

We often think those who do these shootings are hotheads, someone who just lost their job or didn’t get the promotion they felt they deserved. Reality is we don’t know what is happening in someone else’s life.

We all walk around like we have it altogether, but on the inside, we carry many burdens or regrets. We should never judge another person until you know their full story.

I went to an event at Parkland College and one of the speakers showed us a video done on Dwayne Wade by Budweiser. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.

If you don’t know who Dwayne Wade is, he is a 13-time All-Star NBA player and he just retired from playing basketball at the age of 37. Throughout his last season other NBA players had been trading jerseys with him leading up to his final career game.

Budweiser invited Wade to American Airlines Arena where they surprised him with five more items, this time instead of jerseys being traded they were articles of clothing from people who’s lives he had touched and changed forever.

One by one these five people walk out to greet him in the middle of the court. One was the sister of teenager Joaquin Oliver, who died in the Parkland, Fla., shooting, who had always said Wade was his favorite player. Wade found out her brother was a fan and wrote his name on his shoe during the next ball game. Others were a mother whose house burned down before Christmas who Wade treated to a shopping spree; a young woman who was able to go to college thanks to Wade’s foundation giving her a full-tuition scholarship; and a man who thanks Wade for his words that inspired him during difficult times.

Each one gifted Wade with personal articles like a jersey worn my Joaquin, a jacket worn to a first interview, a graduation cap and gown and a custom shirt. But possibly the biggest yet was the fifth person, Wade’s own mother. She had spent time in prison and later became a pastor. Just a few years ago Wade bought her a church.

Knowing what we know now, imagine what Dwayne Wade’s life might have been like growing up. I only knew him to be a great basketball player before that video. Someone inspired Dwayne Wade to not only press on but to never forget where you came from.

Each one of us has those words that can tear someone down or build them up. Let’s choose our words wisely and let’s not just assume everyone around us has his or her life together. We need to truly ask how someone is doing; we need to sincerely listen, and we need to show love to one another.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 28 W. North St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone: 442-3512

Recommended for you