Although not everyone knows it, I was personally impacted by the events of September 11th due to the deaths of a couple of people. But who I want to remember today is Amy Toyen.
So instead of focusing on me and my life, I wanted to take this time today to focus on the life of Amy, a vicitm of the attacks on the World Trade Center. But I don't want to focused on how she died. Rather, I want to focus on how she lived.
Amy Toyen was a graduate of Bentley College with a B.S. in Marketing. One of the many on-campus organizations she was involved in was the fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi, of which I am also a member. It's a co-ed business frat (just so I can explain why a female was a member of a frat). And she was a very very devoted member to the fraternity, serving on more board and in more officer positions than I can remember. Her fiancee was also a member of the fraternity. So to most people, this seems pretty cut and dried...someone devoted to the pursuit of making herself a success in business has passed away, but that is only one side of Amy. There's another side which not many people saw.
Amy might have been a business woman, but she was also an idealist. A person with the ability to think outside of the box, a person who stood up for her beliefs and convictions. A person who spurred others to action when the cause was just. She learned as much as she taught others -- about themselves, about her perspective, about her faith (She was also active in Hillel). And that's not to say that I agreed with her all of the time. In fact, there were many times when we didn't agree at all. But in the end, there was -- and still is -- a mutual respect for the ideas we had, a mutual respect for the common values we shared, and a mutual respect for where we agreed to disagree.
The Amy I remember cared a lot about business and being a success. But cared more about being a successful member of the world community. When there was an act of vandalism and biggotry at our school during our senior year, Amy was so moved to action that she was part of a core group of students who rallied the campus in a diversity initiative. She (and others) hung up signs around campus that said "Biggots not welcome". So moving and profound were her actions that if you want to, you can visit Amy's spirit today -- a drawing of her and the others who led the initiative covers a wall in the LaCava building at Bentley College.
Years ago, there was a campaign sponsored by the United Way called "How Do You Want To Be Remembered?" It suggested that the typical person wanted to remembered as the powerful executive, the superstar athlete or singer, or the genius whizkid. But there was another category of people. They were the people who cared -- people like Amy. People who when they pass on, through ill will or other reasons, leave a hole that the world doesn't quite know how to fill.
I very much miss my friend Amy, but I know I'll see her again. I don't know if I quite believe in heaven, but I think there is some sort of after-life. Someone once said "don't be dismayed at goodbyes. For meeting again, after moments or a lifetime, is certain for those who are friends."
Amy...until our paths cross again....