Yesterday, just 2 weeks shy of exactly 10 years, I sat in the exact same church where we held my dad’s funeral and remembered the father of one of my dearest friends.
Two men. Ten years apart. Both with a tremendous legacy.
John Monaco, my sweet friend Jackie’s dad, was the mayor of Mesquite for 8 years (2007-2015). Most of you know, I was born and raised in Mesquite… and I was always proud to be able to throw that out there. As they told his story yesterday, they talked about how he served in the Air Force. How once he left the military he worked for years with the same company before going into politics.
He leaves behind huge, tangible things that have changed the lives of residents of Mesquite and will continue to change the lives of residents for years and years to come. He was single handedly responsible for bringing DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) to Mesquite. Mesquite boarders Dallas and is home to numerous jobs and one of Dallas County Community College’s best campuses. He made a way for people to live in Mesquite and work in Dallas. To live in Dallas and go to college in Mesquite. My friends, that is huge.
He fostered relationships with the railroad that no other Mayor had been able to foster. He erected transportation for the disabled and elderly throughout Mesquite that had never existed. He was a large supporter and integral piece of the growth and success of Mesquite’s primary social service agency. An agency that has helped thousands of people during our current crisis.
There are differences between Jackie’s dad and my dad. When Jackie talked about her dad’s time in the Air Force she laughed that he had enlisted at age 17 because he lied about his age.
At 17, her dad enlisted in the military. At 17, my dad’s hair was too long for them to publish his picture in the high school year book.
Her dad went on to serve as mayor of the town my dad raised his family in. A position my dad may not have even voted for prior to knowing Jackie’s dad. There were differences, but there were far more similarities.
Funerals, death, memorial services… they all seem like a blur at the time. There are several specific people I remember at my dad’s visitation. It’s like my brain took a snap shot of those people in that exact moment. Where they were sitting, what they were wearing. John Monaco is one of the people I remember from my dad’s visitation. He was sitting on the second row in a blue suit with a big smile.
He was good to the people of Mesquite. He cared about relationships more than politics… but the relationships made him a good politician.
Our dad’s may have been different in the day to day. Jackie’s dad wore a suit and sat in an office. My dad wore a work shirt and fixed cars in a garage.
But their legacy is the same. Large, far reaching. One that will linger for years and affect so many others they never knew.
The things they had in common… they loved God, they loved their families and they loved, loved, loved their neighbors. Neither of them ever met a stranger.
The relationships we build, the friendships we make, loving our family deeply that is the legacy. Taking that out into the world and fighting for others, making it easier for our community, our brothers and sisters… that’s a bonus. A big bonus.
Your legacy can be as simple as how you loved those around you. Or as complex as how your actions changed the world for people you had never even met.
Our dads found the recipe… love God, love your family, love your neighbor.
It’s really that simple.