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What I said at AHR about John Hazen White III

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DanHolohan
DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
Johnny White, my dear friend, asked me to speak in the Taco booth last Monday about his son, who left us last November 3. This is what I said to the large gathering, but mostly to John 3's wife, Kate, and their beautiful daughter, Madison Marie:

When I retired in 2016, Johnny told me that Taco was going to create an award in my name. They would call it the Dan Holohan Lifetime Contribution to Comfort Award. I said, “Gosh.”

And it made me think about comfort. And not just the sort of comfort we deliver through the work that we do - each in our own way - or from the material things we acquire as we grow - the nice house, the fancy car, that cozy chair.

No, this award also made me think about another sort of comfort. The comfort that flows the other way - outward from us and toward others.

“Tell me about your day. I’m sorry that happened to you. I don’t understand why it happened either. Let’s talk about it. How can I help? How can I bring you comfort?”

Some years before Katelyn and Madison Marie arrived, I sat with John 3 and listened. He was going through some heartbreak, and I listened. And when he was done telling me what had happened to him, I told him about the prayer that I say each day before dawn.

Lord, thank you for this precious day. Thank you for all that you’ve given me in your grace and generosity. Thank you for all that You’ve taken from me in Your wisdom, for You know what’s best for me always. And thank You for all that remains, for it is far more than enough, and I must do more for others.

It was the second part of that prayer that I focused on that day when John was heartbroken. The part about loss.

“There’s a reason God took this away from you, John,” I said. “I know that for certain. I don’t know why right now, but I believe we will both know why as time goes by, and we will remember this conversation.”

He looked at me with hope that day.

“Be patient,” I said. “You’ll see.”

And John was patient. He was also kind. I marveled at how kind he was as we grew to know each other more and more. He reached out to everyone and listened to them, really listened. He wanted to know about you, and you, and you. He spoke of himself only if you asked. He gave of himself completely. He poured out priceless comfort to everyone he met.

He called me when my wife of 50 years died suddenly last August. I was shattered. “How can I help you?” he asked. “What can I do for you?”

What can you do for me, John? You just did it.

He was so loved because he loved. Because he brought comfort.

Thank you, Lord, for all that You’ve taken from me in your wisdom, for You know what’s best for me always.

Kate, on your wedding day, in a moment only John and I shared, he took me aside and said. “Dan, I thank God for taking things away from me, no matter how painful it was at the time. I thank Him because, had He not taken things away, I would not be with Kate right now. I would not be so filled with joy right now. I would not be with the love of my life. I thank God for her every day.”

And I heard him say those words again a few years later. He said them to me over the phone, just after Madison Marie was born.

Thank you, Lord, for all that You’ve taken from me in your wisdom, for You know what’s best for me always.

Thank God for you, Maddie.

And for you, Katelyn.

And thank God for John 3. His time with us was brief, but he filled each day with love and caring for others. He brought comfort to us all. Thank God for him.

I’ll finish by telling you about a small, bronze plaque that’s on an old wood bench just outside my apartment in Bethesda, Maryland, where I moved to be closer to my daughters and grandchildren after God took The Lovely Marianne away from me.

Why? I asked. Why? How will I go on? How?

And then I saw the plaque on that bench and I had my answer.

There is a name on that plaque: Kayla Elena Wenger. And below Kayla’s name are these words:

Don’t cry because it’s over.

Smile because it happened.

Yes.

John 3 happened.

Thank God for that.

And there is no one more deserving of this Lifetime Contribution to Comfort Award than John Hazen White III.

Kate and Maddie, please accept this award in John’s name. We love you, and I hope our love brings you comfort.

You are never alone, and good things will happen. They will.

Retired and loving it.
Erin Holohan HaskellEBEBRATT-EdGGrossSlamDunkEdTheHeaterManLarry WeingartenSteveSanDJDrewlagerAlan (California Radiant) ForbesCorktownknotgrumpyMikeL_2reggiHilly

Comments

  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,346
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    President
    HeatingHelp.com

    ratioSal SantamauralagerAlan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Thanks, Erin!
    Retired and loving it.
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,476
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    You always find a way to make it better, and you say it more eloquently than anyone can, thanks Dan.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    EdTheHeaterManLarry WeingartenHilly
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Thanks, HR. I loved him. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,245
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    The sagacious Dano and his words of comfort and wisdom. Only met JW III but we hit it off. Mad Dog
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,167
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    I heard about this at the AHR from others and wished that I was there. Thanks for sharing your words here. I also met a spouse of a Lovely Taco employee, who was in a wheelchair. We struck up a conversation and talked about our different reasons for being wheelchair bound. That conversation and your Awesome words that I just read, will make a difference in how I view my self as I move forward in life. Thanks Dan. You are the MAN!

    Ed.

    PS: I was so happy to connect with you again, and finally meet Erin in person on Monday.

    God Bless you guys!

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    And God bless you, Ed. Thanks for always bringing wisdom, hope, and joy. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 1,090
    edited February 2023
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    This year there was a lot of heart at AHR; and it certainly is a positive aspect that the show connects people with people as much as people with products.

    I said to John Hazen White Jr. at his renewed Taste of TACO: while I can't think of anything more important than showing heart in the face of these deep personal losses, I also can't think of anything more important than showing backbone with regard to industry challenges.

    And that goes for others in the industry too who were close to these gentlemen. The necessary sympathy and space devoted to these losses could equally evoke a determination not to knuckle under to the threats to the industry and its customers posed by external forces.

    TACO has perhaps single-handedly taken on how hydronics might be relevant in an era of electricity by joining two heat pumps to create air sourced temperatures for hydronic applications. One must admit this is a brilliant and TESLA-like solution. It may be a harbinger of things to come; but, like TESLA, its going to be largely relevant to upper-middle class customers for the foreseeable future.

    So we can all have upper middle-class customers, or we can also double down in commitment to service of the existing base of gas and oil-fired appliances for the long term; to optimizing those systems to do the best with them during a long life; and keeping a reliable stream of replacements available until such time as the new tech and the new grid are as relatively affordable as the Model "T" that was aimed at being sold to the workers who made it.

    Those of us in the field need to join with manufacturers in the backbone department. Can we resist the pattern that catalyzed, through subsidy, the haphazard replacement of perfectly good boilers with condensing technology–completely disregarding whether emitters and envelopes would actually lead to the employment of condensing capability? Can the companies who can manufacture and distribute the subsidized equipment avoid the siren song of sowing progress into a yet infertile field?

    I'm not trying to raise the abstract debate about how existential is the threat of conventional energy; but coming from AHR, perhaps the premiere industry event where homage to departed family was a central theme, I'm embarrassed that the education focused not on a strong industry voice as rededication to the strength of the human resources in the trade, but instead being meekly responsive to external command.

    It's absolutely appropriate to provide techs, reps and distributors with background and field practices for the latest regulatory framework. But is it so revolutionary to expect there might have been one seminar amongst hundreds on whether allowing a retentive view of Ozone Depletion Potential to push us down the R410A dead end was really a smart plan? I'm not talking sour grapes over water through the pump :-) but avoiding mistakes in the future. I'm not asking for Extinction Rebellion approach, i.e., that we all gather at the product theaters and open cans of 410A; but how 'bout a refrigerant manufacturer who gives away shirts that say "OuR-22 is better than YouR-410A", or how 'bout a shirt that says "R600a-A boom for heating and cooling" (was pleased that at least one presenter was willing to point out the contradiction between fear of flammability and fear of GWP–where even the bureaucrats in Brussels allow 1.5 KG of A3 charge in certain EU applications while Americans remain petrified of those quantities and applications).

    My contention is not that there is no defense of regulation, but that the questions about their wisdom apparently can't be debated openly at AHR.

    If it be in bad taste to ask, in the memory of those lost, that we remain dedicated to improving the industry they supported from within, then count me as the skunk at the garden party. But my sense is that JHW Jr wasn't offended by raising challenges to the industry in the context of dealing with personal challenges. I didn't know JHW III. My advanced years and long hair make me a contemporary in age and spirit of his father (not to mention his father's father who took some duty to engage in the larger political context of the company's home state of Rhode Island where I also live). Hearing from those who did know him, I see I missed an opportunity. But I trust it can be understood that this only sharpens my focus on threats and opportunities both in life, liberty and the pursuit of HVAC.
  • lager
    lager Member Posts: 56
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    God Bless you Dan for sharing! I absolutely Love the prayer you say each morning!
    .
    Empathy is connecting with people so we know we're not alone when we're in struggle.

    and God bless Kate & Madison Marie & Johnny White & family

    Jim Walls
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Thanks, Jim. Bless you. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,554
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    That was incredible Dan I wish I had been there to hear it. I love that prayer and will adopt it as my own. Thanks for all you do
    Ray
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Thanks, Ray.
    Retired and loving it.
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
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    Dan when I read your words I hear your voice. Thanks for giving me something to say in those times when I said, I don’t know what to say. Didn’t know you are now a Bethesda boy. Be sure to check out Vace on Miller Ave for the best pizza in town. 
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,774
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    Beautifully said Dan. I may not be a religious type but I can see the good in life when it's in front of me. I also can see the strength we get from the tough things that are put in our way. There is a reason most things happen, I hope I can see them like you do as they come up in life. Peace all
     Tim
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    @unclejohn, Vace is right out my back door. Great place! My fourth-floor balcony overlooks the head of the Capital Crescent Trail. I'm on the trail everyday at 5 AM. Good medicine.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts. We are all so fragile. Love as hard as you can. Hug your kids.
    Retired and loving it.
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,658
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    Well said, Dan. There's no such thing as too much love...
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,245
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    Watch the Coyotes Dan...carry a nice Shilaleh with ya. Mad Dog 
    EdTheHeaterMan