It was in this group, that I found a post about a classmate of ours that died serving in Iraq. I was shocked. This happened in October. He had been living in Santa Rosa and left behind a wife and a new baby. Josh Kynoch (“Kynoch” as he was referred to in school) had been a member of the wrestling team. And I was the stat-girl (scorekeeper). We weren’t close, but I spent almost all my time every wrestling season with the team—wrestling meets, weekend tournaments, even practices. I was pretty devoted to it and deeply loved the sport and all my “brothers” in the dysfunctional family that was the Casa Grande Wrestling Team. Although I had my fair share of crushes on some of the guys, I’m pretty confident that they simply saw me as “Liz, the stat-girl.” Some of the guys could be mean to me, but I enjoyed the competitive spirit and “took it like a man.” There were some who were truly and genuinely nice to me--Josh was one of them (although I don’t think I ever appreciated him enough at the time). He had a bit of a rough time trying to make it as a wrestler. The first few years were quite grueling, but he was persistent. He never gave up. I can imagine that made him a great soldier. There were many guys who joined the wrestling team (nobody was cut except for grades or behavior), got discouraged and quit. I know Josh had some discouraging times but he never ever quit. He kept trying to be a better wrestler and that was what happened. He learned new skills, he got stronger. In February of 2000 (our senior year), he earned the right to wrestle at the North Coast Section wrestling tournament in Antioch (I’ve been told that our section tournament is more intense and challenging than many state’s tournaments). I am sure he brought the same intensity, drive and passion to serving our country in Iraq. In learning about his death, I felt deep sorrow for his family as well. I met his little sister when she was probably 11. She came and watched his meets and tournaments and eventually became a stat-girl at her high school. His mom watched and cheered for him tirelessly. I remember during one of the snow trips the team (and their families) made every year, she braided my hair on the steps outside the Truckee Veterans Hall. That team was such a blend of all the families involved. I don’t believe I have ever met his wife, Sarah. But I pray that God will grant her peace and comfort, and that she will be able to share with their daughter, Savannah, all of the reasons she loved her daddy. And that she will enjoy every moment of Savannah’s life and treasure each time she sees Josh in Savannah’s eyes or expression or however his legacy lives on. I don’t intend to make any political statement by posting this. I do, however, wish to express my gratitude to those who have put and are currently putting their lives on the line to keep freedom available to us and to bring freedom to people who never had it. Regardless of whether the war in Iraq was necessary or not, our friends, brothers, sisters, parents, children, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, co-workers, and more are risking their lives daily. And their lives are precious. God, Protect the military personnel (and civilian contractors) all over the world, who are risking their lives. I pray that you would show them beautiful things daily so they would not get overwhelmed by the violence that they see. I pray that YOU would be their guide and comfort. Remind them of all the people who love and support them. Lord, I specifically pray for the Kynoch Family. Grant them love, peace and happiness in this Holiday Season. May Josh’s memory always rest in their hearts, in their photographs and in their memories. Bring them people to be comforters and friends. Guide them down the path you have for them. Bless them immensely. Grant them “mercy, peace and love…in abundance” (Jude v.2). Amen.
I'll see if I can find any pictures of Josh from High School to post.