This is tough, to write about loss, but also the good that comes from it. You can skip down to the “Good News” part if you don’t want to read about the loss. I won’t judge.
The world lost a Good Guy last week. Andy Craze. Andy was instrumental in the Cleveland GiveCamp project, great developer, fellow improviser (we first met when we were both studying at Second City in Cleveland).
The odd thing is that Andy and I weren’t close friends. We ran into each other 2-3 times a year, would exchange pleasantries and move on. But the guy was impressive. And cool. I mean impressively cool. And cool as in “he’s-making-the-world-a-better-place-and-helping-out-everybody-else-in-the-room-and-making-it-look-ridiculously-easy-and-even-pleasant-why-are-you-not-helping-people-like-him?” kinda cool.
He and I shared a number of interests. Technology, improvisational comedy, science fiction, old movies. I suspect the list would be longer if I knew him better. And if you look around, people who knew him better will tell you better stories, more accurate descriptions.
One of the things I constantly do in the back of my head is keep track of people that I want to work with and look for projects that will make that happen. Unfortunately, as a master procrastinator, often those projects take too long. I had a couple of projects in my head that I had Andy as the guy I wanted to play with (yup, proper term). Those projects, alas, will probably never see the light of day (but they would’ve been cool!)
When I heard of Andy’s passing (didn’t even know he was ill…like I said we weren’t best buds), Julie (the missus) and I immediately thought that he had to be remembered. That wasn’t a question. So I immediately reached out to the folks at Cleveland GiveCamp (which was happening the following weekend) about starting some kind of award in Andy’s name.
(For those of you keeping track, Julie and I last year started and are funding the annual “Make A Difference” award at Hiram College).
Anyway, back to the folks at GiveCamp. Boy, were they helpful! Dan Nelson spearheaded getting GiveCamp on board (nothing but cooperation and excitement) and put me in touch with Jane Winik, Andy’s partner (that's her in the picture). I must admit to being nervous, since I’m essentially an outsider, both personally and professionally. But everybody was nothing but positive.
So, here’s the result, in a nutshell. Jane Winik and I both contributed $500 to start the “Craze eCool Award.” This annual award (or something like it. I mean, we had less than a week to put it together) will be given to one or more non-profit organizations that participated in the Cleveland GiveCamp each year.
Jane and I spent a good part of Sunday afternoon talking to the 20 or so non-profit organizations and the teams of volunteers developing free web solutions for them. And after much deliberation, we chose EYEJ: Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice and Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates as “winners.” Each organization will receive $500.
And Jane and I are already talking about next year. And Jane has other ideas to keep the memory of Andy alive.
Because that’s what cool people do.
Photos by Stuart O. Smith, Jr. @sos_jr http://www.sosassociates.com/blog