I learned a little something about that this week when I was asked to write a story about Tracy Gray, a man with a medical condition (I think it was Autism but was unable to get his doctor to release his specific condition) who would spend his days walking the streets of Crowley with a kind of strange look on his face.
I had seen him dozens of times before and thought he just be a crazy person who may possibly even be homeless. However, having not grown up in Crowley, I never realized that not only was he beloved by so many people but he was also extremely intelligent - especially when it came to numbers.
I spoke to plenty of people who, when they were describing Tracy, all used adjectives like generous, kind and (perhaps the one that surprised me the most) a genius.
Tracy, it seems was a wonderful person who would give gifts to his friends, loan money (sometimes to a fault) to most anyone who asked him for it.
According to his older brother Wayne, he was so generous when it came to his money that Wayne eventually had to oversee his finances to ensure that he was able to pay his bills each month. Wayne was also concerned about the safety of Tracy's walks around Crowley and tried to get him to move in with him in Slidell.
"He really loves Crowley," said Wayne during a Thursday interview. "He didn't want to leave and his social worker said that he would be better off in a familiar environment."
Then there was his talent with numbers that was comparable to Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie 'Rain Man.'
"He would remember the exact date of everyone who has ever worked for the library starting date or when they reired, said Sandra Henry, Branch Manager of the Acadia Public Library. "I honestly think that he was a genius."
By the end of the day, I realized that the comments I was receiving from people who knew Tracy basically said the same thing - that he was very kind, generous and a brilliant man.
R.I.P. Tracy Gray. Wish I had gotten the chance to meet you. You were obviously a person who touched a lot of lives in Crowley and you will be missed.
I also did a story earlier this week on the tragic death of Mitchell Romero, an 18-year-old who just a few months ago was donning the cap of a graduate of Northside Christian School.
The more I learned about what happened that night the angrier the events of that night made me.
Mitchell was out late, dropping off her frends from a night out. She was the designated driver for the evening and had just dropped off her last passenger when some idiot who already had a DWI on his record slammed into the side of her vehicle. She initially survived and her outlook was good, however, she died during a therapy session three days after the accident.
When I went to interview her parents for an article in Wednesday's paper, I knew that it would a tough assignment and I listened as two proud parents described a daughter who was always responsible, never drank and took care of her friends and her brother who suffers from a handicap.
She was due to start her job last Monday working as a home help provider who would travel to disabled people's homes and help them out by providing them food and helping them perform various other tasks.
She never got the chance thanks to a man who was speeding and wasn't paying attenton to what was in front of him. To add insult to injury, the suspect tried to run away from the scene - but it wasn't long before he was apprehended by Crowley Police.
He didn't bother to check on the girl he had hit or to call 911. He was only worried about saving his own hide. Maybe he read about the guy who, just a few weeks ago, at nearly the same intersection, ran his car off the road and crashed it into an unoccupied home. He got out and ran home and called the police to report his car stolen.
I haven't had an update on that incident lately but I'm sure it didn't work.
Though the interview was supposed to be mainly about Mitchell - the girl that Northside Christian Principal Randy Trahan called 'our Mother Theresa' because of her giving nature' - I could easily feel the anger in her father's voice when discussing the accident and subsequent actions of the drunken driver, 32-year-old Tyson Dupuis were mentioned.
I can assure Mr. Dupuis that he will have plenty of time in jail to consider the results of his actions and, hopefully, to realize exactly how selfish he was that night.
So in only one week Crowley lost two of its most diverse, yet generous people. People who had made a difference in the lives of those around them. People who were loved by many. And people who can never be replaced.
May they rest in peace.
Howell Dennis is a native of Lafayette, La. He attended the University of Texas at Arlington where he graduated in journalism and public relations.