I cannot begin to express how sorry I am for your loss. I have been wanting to reach out to you all since Andrew’s passing, but I have not been able to find the words. When I was little, the ( ) were my neighbors and ( ) was one of my best friends. Naturally, I spent time with Andrew because I spent most of my childhood attached to ( ). However, my bond with Andrew did not really begin to take shape until high school and it really solidified in college. Andrew and I always knew each other in elementary school, middle school, and the beginning of high school through sports and mutual friends, but with age our friendship grew stronger.
In high school, we had a similar friends. We were always traveling in the same circles and hanging out at the same places. I attended ( ), so I didn’t get to spend as much time with Andrew in college, but I saw him nearly every weekend of our Freshman year, especially that first summer when we all did Summer B. That summer several of my friends started at ( ), so I spent nearly every weekend making the journey to ( ). There were several of us up there that first summer and we were all trying to adjust to the freedom of college while living away from home, but we found comfort in each other (and beer). That summer is very near and dear to my heart. Several of my fondest memories from college involve Andrew and that summer. It was a simpler time when we were all young, fairly innocent, and care free. We dove head first into college, but we did it together holding hands and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends to face the world with.
Andrew had a heart of gold. His smile, presence, personality, and demeanor could light up any room he walked into and I was always happy to see him. Many of my memories with Andrew involve just relaxing and drinking a beer at someone’s house or a day out on the boat with friends. However, I realized just how special Andrew was my senior year of college. I was going through a tough time. My boyfriend and I broke up after years of dating and I felt a little lost in the world. I didn’t know who my friends were and I felt very alone. One weekend a friend convinced me to return to ( ) for the weekend. I was nervous because I thought it would bring back old memories and make me sad. On our first night out, we ran into Andrew at a bar. He was so happy to see me and genuinely concerned about how I was doing and why I hadn’t been around for the past few months. He spent the whole night hanging out with me, making sure I was having a good time, and making me feel welcome in a city that suddenly felt so foreign. My friends and I spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with Andrew and I don’t think we stopped laughing from Friday until Sunday. I will be forever grateful to Andrew for remaining a loyal friend to me, for always caring about my well being, and for never failing to cheer me up and bring a smile to my face.
After college, I moved away for several years. Every time I returned home, I always ran into Andrew and it felt like no time had passed. He was one of those friends that you could see every day or once every few years, but you could always pick up right where you left off. Since I attended ( ), I was a pretty big ( ) fan, but Andrew never held that against me. I started law school at ( ), but when I saw Andrew in the summer of 2012 and told him I was transferring to ( ) Law, a grin a mile wide spread across his face and he said “I always knew you were a ( ).” I ran into Andrew at the Square Grouper the Friday before the accident. I am so thankful I got to see him one last time because any time spent with Andrew was precious time. The night after the funeral, several of us went to the inlet to say good bye. The boys sat on the rocks and reminisced and I walked the beach thinking about Andrew and the mark he left on the world. The inlet was calmer than I had ever seen it and the night was eerily quiet. It felt as if Andrew had the same calming and comforting presence on the waves of the ocean and the inlet as he did on me.
While I’m sure you’ve heard this time and time again, thank you for raising such an amazing man. When I look back, I cannot think of a time when I was mad at Andrew or annoyed with him. It is rare that you meet a person with as many admirable qualities as he possessed and even more rare for someone so young to make such a sizable impression on so many people. Although his life was far too short, he impacted more people and experienced more things than many do in 80 years. I will always remember Andrew and I will never forget the effect he had on my life and the lives of those around me. While I know nothing can fill the void left behind, I want to offer you all my sincerest condolences. I would be more than happy to help in any way possible with the golf tournament and assist with the foundation in any way I can.”