I have encountered many souls whom I’m glad to call my friends as I go through this journey that is my life. Were I to apply the archetypes from myth to my journey, I would be that hero in need of guidance which came to me, much as Obi-Wan came to Luke, in the form of Travis Merrick.
I first met Mr. Merrick in 2004 when he took over the teaching of Ajo High School’s technology classes. Having the reputation of being that kid who could fix any computer, I remember my attitude at the time was, “Psh. Who’s this? I know a lot about computers so there’s nothing this guy can teach me.” How very wrong I was. Even after high school he continued to influence and guide me as I tried to find my way. I, and all of his students, grew to respect Travis for not only what he was able to teach us but because he seemed to understand us. In fact, in a previous debate I’ve cited Travis Merrick as one of the most influential teachers I’ve had, and all of us who knew him would agree.
He always made time to talk to me and we’d often call each other on Skype to geek out. My instinct when I see something cool somewhere is, “Oh! I gotta show this to Travis!” We’d talk about tech, movies, philosophy, politics, a difficult situation one of us was trying to figure out or we’d just talk. I won’t say the conversations we had made me the man today because there’s a lot for me to do yet. I will say he is a great man and a role model for the man I wish to someday become. I feel that the best way I can honor him now is to follow his example.
It has been less than a day since the funeral and I still can’t accept that it happened: I can’t accept that Travis Merrick is gone. Early Wednesday morning I received a message informing me that my friend and mentor had passed away. His absence immediately left a void in my life and I lament all the things I left unsaid. I never truly thanked you, sir, for helping me along my way and I look forward to seeing you again someday. I’ll have much to share with you, my friend.