“Andy loved this town and a lot of people probably thought he was lazy or a bum because he hadn’t worked for so long,” Pat said. “He’d get depressed over this disability stuff, about things not going right for him. I think it really made him feel like he belonged somewhere and that he really did something for other people. I think he was really happy with himself.”
Graham agreed. He said much like someone who finds unknown strength when dealing with an emergency, Andy too discovered something unknown from within. Although his own house was damaged and the home of his parents destroyed, he never thought about his own needs. He was too busy helping everyone else.
“It pulled skills out of Andy that either he didn’t know he had or he hadn’t been using in a long time,” Graham said. “The people of Marysville are extremely proud people and they needed help but they didn’t want to take help. And Andy had a way of getting through to those people and finding out what they needed and getting them to accept things they needed that nobody else could do.”
In recognition of his volunteer work, Graham presented Andy a flag from Sen. Richard Lugar’s office. But Andy wasn’t finished helping people. His mother said he had hoped to continue assisting disaster relief victims through either the American Red Cross or another governmental agency.
A PROMISE HONORED
Even though he no longer inhabits this earth, Andy’s dreams and legacy live on. Before his accident, he had asked Graham to make a special promise.
“He’d say, ‘Yeah, I know you’re a big shot. In a week or two you’ll forget about all of us in Marysville.’ He knew he could say that because we were that good of friends,” he said. “And out of the clear one day, he said, ‘I want you to make me a promise.’ And I said, what’s that? And he said, ‘Promise that you’ll get the Marysville school rebuilt.’ I promised I’d help do that and I certainly will.”