Friends comment on article on Kevin
From Tom Ortloff
I just want to tell you that your son, Kevin, is one of the finest young men I have ever met. He was my personal trainer for three years, and became my friend during that time. We were both in the Colorado Mountain Club, and I met Trish at one of the CMC classes. You can be so very proud of him. I have two sons (24 and 17) and will be ecstatic if they turn out to be of the same mold as Kevin. I pray for him every day, as does my wife and youngest son, Adam, who also trained with Kevin. We pray for his safe return home and for his wife and unborn son (I suggested he name him "Tom". He thanked me. Said it was always a good choice, but he thought NOT).
Your letter moved me, particularly because I know Kevin and love him for the person he is. I know he is going to do great things in his lifetime, and feel lucky to call him friend. I also sent him a birthday wish yesterday. We are lucky to have a person like Kevin defending our freedom. Thanks for sharing your letter with me.
From Dolly Banzon
This is a long while coming. I did not want to push it, but I did sense, rightly or wrongly, that you did not want to discuss the reality of Kevin's being in Iraq. I respected the silence, for whatever reason.
This is a beautiful tribute to your precious son. All of us have gone through this age of being 33, and for some, just like Jesus during this age of crucifixion, faced the many uncertainties of the pain of growing up, or facing reality. (And how we have forgotten or even, vaguely remember!) But as in the case of your son, he has stood up to his responsibility, one you may dub as the time to "pay the piper." What an honorable man you have produced! If I did not know him and Kirsten, I may have looked at this article as just another piece of a mother's indulgence. But yes, on their own, your children have been outstanding.
My heart goes to your young daughter-in-law, too, Trish, who together with Kevin, actively made the sacrifice. Whatever this is all about, the intention of those who give their lives voluntarily, make us all hopeful that there is, after all, some meaning to live by. Trish and your soon-to-be grandchild already possess this honor behind the man, husband and father.
I commend you, too, for being brave enough to face up to this reality and be able to verbalize your feeling. I am sure that Mark expresses the same sentiment that you have conveyed. I may not completely understand what goes on in the heart of a mother/father with all these threat of foreboding danger, but together with Kevin, you also are asked to live alongside his courage. I honor and appreciate your finally opening up. I am sure that other mothers/parents who are in the same predicament as you are, would appreciate your message of courage and hope.
Above all, there is a God who loves all of us, mostly, you mothers/fathers/parents, who are now participating in the pain of His Blessed Mother when she witnessed the brutal sacrifice of her own son. He is never away from you, nor from Kevin. Praise be to God, and praise be to you and Mark, Trish and the baby, Kirsten as well, and to all the parents who share both your courage and agony.
My prayers go with you, though I feel you are more prayerful than I am. You have offered a living sacrifice, and bless you, Mila, my dearest friend.
From Rudy Arizala
Congratulations to your son Kevin who today, 16 June 2009, completes
33 years of age. He is a self-made man having found his place under
the sun raising a family and now serving the US armed forces in Iraq
on Criminal Justice.
According to Einstein, "Anything truly novel is invented only during
one's youth." So, it could be said also, "Anything truly remarkable
is achieved only during one's youth."
Jesus Christ was in the prime of His youth when he started preaching
the "Good News"; David was a lad when he fought the giant Goliath;
Alexander, the Great, almost conquered the world when he was in his
thirties; Rizal wrote his two immortal novels when he was also in his
thirties; modesty aside, I was 33 yrs old when I took my M.A. in
International Relations at a US University which launched by career
in the Philippine foreign service. And so, your beloved son, Kevin,
at a young age of 33 is in the zenith of his success professionally
being assigned in strange, foreign historical biblical land away from
home serving justice for the stars and stripes. You need not worry,
for surely, like Jason in search of the "golden fleece", he will come
home with the proverbial "bacon".