On June 19, 2009, longtime Action News sports director Gary Papa passed away after a battle with prostate cancer. Ten years to the date, Action News sports reporter Jamie Apody reflects on her friendship with Gary and the memories she'll never forget.
10 years. 10 years?
Today marks 10 years since I said goodbye to my "big bro," my mentor, my friend in his hospital room, and watched his young sons do the same.
How is it possible an entire decade has passed without hearing his voice?
Without hearing "Jamie Jamie Jamie," followed by some 'Seinfeld' reference, his pants covered in Sharpie?
Ten years since I tried to decipher his hand-written scripts, or fix his miss-matched ties.
Ten years since I've heard that laugh, that laugh that was infectious.
I've missed him every single day.
And HE has missed so much.
The birth of my three boys.
His beloved Eagles winning the Super Bowl.
Two Villanova National Championships.
Most importantly, his beautiful boys Nathaniel and Tucker graduating from high school and becoming such incredible young men.
Cancer took him from us and 10 years later it still makes me mad. But the hole his passing left has been filled with a drive to live life like him, carefree.
To love my job fiercely and do it with his passion and energy.
To give of myself freely, my time, my money, with the same endless generosity he always showed others.
And hopefully to impart some of the lessons he taught me to my boys as they grow up.
Today, remember Gary.
Remember how he made you smile every day when he delivered the sports with the enthusiasm of a true Philly fan. Today, try and make someone laugh. Really laugh, from the inner part of their soul, like he was able to do without even trying.
Today, do something kind for others, fill their gas tank, or leave a really large tip for a waiter - he'd do these things all the time.
But most of all, today feel blessed that we had him as OURS. And if you wouldn't mind, share a memory YOU have of Gary with me. I need the smiles today.
I miss you Gar. So very much. RIP.
"10 years since I said goodbye:" Jamie Apody remembers Gary Papa