Death of a saint.


The news came on Monday.

One of our nation's finest young military men had fallen - but not in the line of duty. Rather, Andrew Lee Reavis died doing what he loved - hunting ducks on the Tappahannock River.

Andrew was a very close friend of mine. We forged a friendship a year and a half ago when we worked together in our first summer as Resident Advisors at Jacob's Ladder, a summer camp for gifted youth of NC and VA. It wasn't long before I realized how lucky I was to know that fellow.

Andrew - or Dewey, as everyone called him at camp - was the epitome of a servant. He put his country and his fellow man before self every single day. A Cadet 2nd Class at the Virginia Military Institute, Dewey was gearing up for a very distinguished military career. However, his work at Jacob's Ladder prompted him to consider an altogether different line of work - working with children in need.

Dewey was a part-time father to around 70 or so middle-schoolers. It was a rarity to see him without two or three kids clinging to his legs and arms. Dewey was such a chameleon - able to respond so quickly and appropriately when the environment changed. When play got a little rough and one of the children got a bump or a bruise, Dewey was sure to be right by their side, holding their hand all the way. He knew exactly what to do when someone's feelings were hurt - and all the kids knew it. I wouldn't be surprised if the children had voted him, "Best RA."

Another RA, Jessica, put it perfectly when she heard the news of Dewey's death.

"I know a couple dozen kids who just got a guardian angel."