We are fortunate to meet many great Iowans – some of whom we hold particularly close to our hearts and our mission. Carol Eilerts of Eagle Grove is one of those individuals, and we are pleased to present her guest blog:

When asked to share a blog with Character Counts, I wasn’t for sure what I would write about. What knowledge about character would I possibly have to offer that everyone hadn’t already read about? In the past two years my husband and I have witnessed both the best and the worst of character in people. Most of you remember the tragic tornado that struck the Little Sioux Scout Ranch on June 11, 2008. Our son Aaron, along with Ben, Sam, and Josh were killed. All of our families had the initial outpouring of caring and support from our communities, families, friends, and even strangers from across the country. This continued for several months.

However, in visiting with the moms of Josh, Ben, and Sam, we have all discovered who our “true” friends really are. Friends that we thought we could share our thoughts and dreams with now “tastefully” avoid us and are “too busy” to call. Our friends have now become people who have true caring in their hearts and want to stand beside us, feel our pain, and know our grief. Most of our fiends now, were either strangers or casual friends before. They know it’s not contagious. I am sure I was once this way.

Character is about being who you are all the time. We are moms who lost their sons, but we can still be a good listener, a good friend and we still care. We are still the same person even though our hearts may be broken. We still have hopes and dreams to share even though those hopes and dreams may have changed. We still want to laugh and share with a friend and we know that our boys would want that for us. A true friend is someone who breathes for you when you no longer can or want to.

My goal from writing this blog is that if you are/were a friend of someone who has lost someone dear to them, don’t avoid them. Support them. Be honest with them. Be the same friend you were to them before, for their character hasn’t changed, maybe yours has.

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