REFLECTIONS: Pontz had all the heart in the world
Who would have believed? Who could have believed?
Late December, 2010, the phone call came that Kevin Pontz had long awaited. Words spoken brought him hope. A blessing. A new heart. But he knew, also, that another family was dealing with a tragedy, now grieving their loss of a loved one.
Kevin could live. He soon became the recipient of that new heart. A last gift from a stranger. He will never forget that call.
Nor will he forget the call a few days back while he and his father-in-law were hunting out west.
Just a couple weeks back we saw Kevin and his family at a local restaurant. He looked great. Put on weight. Feeling good. In fact, great. We talked about needing to write another story. One of hope. This new heart had given him life again.
I met his wife and both girls for the first time. They were beautiful. Angie agreed she’d be willing to talk to me in the interview too. I thought probably in the next couple weeks or so. And so it was to be.
Last weekend I finished up an article telling about the Reed City cheerleaders, Amana Powers and Angie Pontz gearing up for a fundraiser this past Friday. It was in Wednesday’s paper. The day she died.
The fundraiser was to raise money for the American Heart Association and to provide an opportunity to allow people to be part of the Gift of Life, to sign up to be part of the program that gave Kevin his new heart.
That Wednesday, Sept. 14, found Kevin and Angie’s dad hurrying toward Grand Rapids, unable to find a flight the day before to get them there so much quicker.
His wife? An aneurysm.
At Friday’s visitation, there just were not words. He had some. He said we need to write “the big story.” There were tears all around as he said, “I thought about it the last two days. We need to write the big story — the book.”
There was that decision too about Friday night. The fundraiser. This courageous man, this dad and his girls made the decision it had to happen. By then, his wife, their mom had saved four lives. They needed to tell others do it too.
And so it was they went and stood before that crowd, in the hush of respect, and the enveloping love. Burton Mattice, CEO of the Michigan organ and tissue donation program, Gift of Life, made a presentation to the family and confirmed that Angie had saved the lives of four people. Krisca Gould, youth market director of the American Heart Association, spoke briefly as well.
State Representative Darwin Booher knows the family well.
His voice quivered. His eyes full of tears, he spoke ever so briefly.
T-shirts had sold out. Much money collected. And this brave family stood together in the cold, night air, hand-in-hand, in tears, with love.
It was at Angie’s funeral the message screamed out in a strong voice.
We never know when or how or why.
The time to live is this minute, this hour, this day. Reach out to others.
Live. Laugh. Love. Cry when you must.
She surely did all those things.
And saved four lives.