This past week the Chesapeake community lost one of the most amazing men I have ever known. Jamie returned from a mid-morning run and died unexpectedly at home from a heart attack. Jamie was a loving husband, an incredible father, former teacher, avid wrestler, wrestling coach, friend and mentor to numerous individuals. His wife Jacqueline and two beautiful young children need all of our support during this painful time in their lives. I am asking for anyone who knew Jamie, and even those who were never touched by his kind words or infectious smile, to donate any amount you can for the benefit of Jamie and Jacqueline’s children. Tragedies like this can bring out the best in others so I am hoping to show the Kelly family all the love and support we can through this fundraiser.
As you can imagine, trying to tell you the type of person that Jamie was is very difficult as the scope of his life touched so many. The messages below from his friends, which were posted online in tribute to him, may help to shed a bit of light on his personality:
Jason E. (a childhood friend) “Let me tell you what kind of person Jamie Kelly was. Many know that I went to high school and wrestled with Jamie. What people don’t know is that Jamie and I went to the same elementary school. My first day there I couldn’t make any friends and I was sick to my stomach! No one would even pay attention to me, I felt alone and isolated. When all the kids went outside for recess, everyone had their groups of friends that they were playing with. I sat on a bench all by myself. That’s when a thin blonde-haired boy approached me and said, ‘You look like you need a friend. Come play ball with us over here!’ Jamie introduced me to everyone in the group. That thin blonde-haired boy ended up being my best friend that year. Jamie Kelly was that boy that when everyone else was not paying attention, he was. He made a point to include everyone. He did this in high school too and on the wrestling team. Jamie was the type of guy that had your back no matter what! The kind of guy that made you laugh and you wanted him as a friend.”
An excerpt from Curt K. (his college roommate) “I will never forget you JK. I promise to play a part in your children’s lives. I won’t let you down brother. We will be telling stories about you for many, many years my brother!”
Matt L. (a former athlete) “Jamie Kelly is the voice inside my head. When I start to doubt myself and think about giving up, he speaks to me. Slow down, breathe, let your mind control the body he would whisper. When I feel tired and lazy at heart he yells, ‘Get Up!’ Don’t you dare feel sorry for yourself. Jamie Kelly is the voice inside my head when I am lost and untrue to myself he comforts me. I feel his grip on my shoulder, ‘Get your sh*% together son.’ he would say gritting his teeth. Jamie Kelly is the voice inside my head when I triumph in life he’s always right there smiling. When I accomplish the impossible he’s the first to congratulate me. Jamie Kelly will always be the voice in my head. Taunting, pushing and driving me to be better than I was yesterday. That’s what he did. He motivated people to improve and I am lucky to have called him my coach and my friend.”
Matt S. (a close friend) “I miss my friend; his profound love for his family and his friends, his logical advice, his witty responses, his seriousness, his love for sports, music and comedy. He valued relationships. He epitomized the need to always try to better your situation and that nothing replaces hard work.”
Corey W. (his coaching partner) “The fellowship and understanding between us allowed the two of us the opportunity to bring young men of different backgrounds, beliefs and values and mold them into great young men. And he lived it to his core…So as a brother, I will continue to the path Jamie lighted for us. I will end with this…Treat others with respect, love, compassion and understanding. Just like Jamie did.”