Rick Gunnell falls into both categories - a good friend, and a blessing.
Rick (or "Gunny" as he is known at Lowe's - where he is delivery manager) is one of a kind. There are some people who know a lot about one or two subjects. There are others who know a little about a lot of things. Rick will amaze you with his wide ranging familiarity with nearly any subject. He is quick witted, but even as long as I have known him, sometimes his comebacks give me pause and I have to think a few seconds for the remark to sink in.
I guess it's been ten years or more since I first met Rick, his wife, Pat, and little Ricky (at least at that time he was little). They were visitors one Sunday morning at a church where I previously served as Pastor. That morning in my message, I had made a tongue in cheek remark about some church members being "SMO's" (Sunday Morning Only). I only mentioned it in passing, but it was not lost on Rick. As I stood at the back door of the church shaking hands with the congregation as they filed out, this young visitor said, "We need more ETTDO's don't we?"
There must have been a blank look on my face as I said, "I beg your pardon?"
"ETTDO's" he grinned. "You know, 'Every Time The Door Opens!'"
I had already forgotten my fleeting reference to "SMO's" - but it wasn't lost on Gunny.
That's just the way he is. It sometimes seems as though he might be on just a little different frequency, but when you think for a second, his comments always make good sense, and they are generally right on the money.
Rick is one busy guy! He works two jobs - the aforementioned position of Delivery Manager at Lowe's, and when he leaves Lowe's, he heads down I-64 to the next exit, where he makes deliveries for Office Depot. Rick serves as Sunday School Director at Westmoreland Baptist Church, where he also sings in the choir and serves as a Trustee and as a Yokefellow in our Deacon/Yokefellow Family Ministry. He also finds time to serve as a guitarist and lead singer in a Christian band, called "Three O'Clock Sunday", yet he still finds time to spend his fleeting free time visiting his mother, who is a patient in a local nursing home.
You learn a lot about someone when you spend some time with them, and I have spent some time with Rick. In fact, he and I have travelled half way around the world together, not once, but three times, on mission trips to the Philippines. I have learned that Rick loves Jesus, he loves people, and he has a servant's heart.
Linda and I have been blessed to know Rick and Pat. They are just good folks. Always thoughtful, always supportive, always a blessing. They're the type of folks that you never want to take advantage of, but they just have the gift of giving of themselves. Case in point, the last four Saturday mornings -
Linda and I had decided that we wanted a privacy fence around the sides and back of our yard. We purchased 23 of those pretty white six foot vinyl fence panels and the corresponding posts a few weeks back. I thought it would be a pretty easy project.
I was mistaken.
It had been years since I had done any fencing, and I underestimated the degree of difficulty on this new fencing product, (as well as the fact that I am not nearly as young as I use to be!) As I began the project, I realized I had probably bitten off more than I could chew. Enter Rick Gunnell, offering to help. So, for the next four Saturday mornings, rain or shine, Rick showed up, with nothing on his mind but to help us get this project finished. Basically Rick built the fence, and I was his helper and "go-fer". Someone asked me what I would have done without his help. The simple answer is, "I don't know", but I sure know I could not have finished with these results - and it would have taken all summer!
So, Rick, all I can say is "Thank you." And "Thank you too, Pat, for sharing Rick with us for the past four Saturday mornings." In typical fashion, Rick would not accept any pay for his work. Pat is just the same. She is a giver, not a taker. Linda and I will take the Gunnell family to Jim's for spaghetti next Saturday evening. Then in July, Rick, Ricky and I will make a trip down to Great American Ballpark for a Red's game.
It's not nearly enough to repay Rick for all he did to help us with this project, but hopefully he'll know how much I appreciate his help.