A Modern-day Barnabas

The apostle Barnabas may not immediately be one you remember or recognize.  Martin Collins wrote a piece almost 20 years ago that I will borrow from today to describe what kind of person Barnabas was:

Everyone can use a little encouragement on a regular basis. Very often it does not take much more than a kind word of concern or a simple statement of appreciation to boost our feeling of accomplishment to exuberant levels. Research has found that people are much happier on the job if they feel appreciated for their work. This factor is more important in day-to-day job satisfaction than the amount of one’s salary. On the other hand, a well-deserved raise in pay is like your boss saying, “I appreciate your work!”

My friend and fellow Rotarian, Frank Emerson passed away almost two weeks ago and I have heard him described as a modern day Barnabas.  Based on what I know and what I have heard, I would completely agree that Frank fits the role of a modern day “son of encouragement”.

I first came to know Frank through our work in Rotary.  He was always quick to smile and share a joke, but he was also one of those who was an initiator and a doer.  Frank will be remembered for many things, but the one many in Rotary will remember was his work with the International Starfish program that our club formed and has supported now for over 10 years.  This program works with the people of Guatemala to help them have a better life, primarily through work to provide them clean water.  Most of us take water for granted.  We go to the sink, turn on the faucet, and drink without giving this a second thought.  Things are not that easily in many parts of the world, especially in areas of Guatemala where our club would go.  Frank and others have been many times to provide systems for clean potable water so that people of all ages can have water that does not make them sick.

Frank’s service mentality came much earlier in his life, starting with his time in Naval ROTC at Vanderbilt.  He then flew as a naval aviator for 6 years and then many years afterward in the National Guard.

I remember well talking with Frank often as we watched Vanderbilt baseball both here and at the College World Series in Omaha.  Having Frank on your team guaranteed that you would have a faithful supporter on your side.

Frank has gone on to his heavenly reward, but the impact he has made and the lives he has changed will never be forgotten.

Truly Frank was a modern day Barnabas, a true son of encouragement.

Those who knew him will never forget.