To the Editor: It’s all about the dash

To the Editor:

The dash refers to the dash between the date you were born and the date you pass on (usually found on one’s gravestone). A while back, I heard someone mention this “dash.” What they were referring to was how one lives and conducts their life, and how they spend their time here on Earth. It really is how we live that will be remembered, modeled for others and the legacy we leave behind. Whether good or bad, we set an example for our children, friends, family, etc. I’m quite sure Luke Gross set an astonishing example that’s hard to match.  

Deputy Luke Gross exemplifies a life well lived. Though his dash (years) may not be as long as others, it’s how he lived that defines him. I clearly remember meeting Deputy Gross for the first time. It was on a camping trip about 12 years ago. After speaking with him, my initial thought was, “This guy is a police officer? Is he for real? There’s something different (neat) about this guy.” He was the real deal, and just plain cool. He was what we often refer to as down to earth.  Aside from all of his accomplishments and success in life, he was someone who impacted many people in many ways. I’m one of those people he impacted. I always enjoyed talking with him. He just had that special way with people and that certain air about him. I am grateful and blessed to have known him. 

From what I heard and could see, Deputy Gross was well respected. Along with being a family man, he was also a man of integrity, was honest and sincere. In addition, he had a great sense of humor and was a positive force in the community. Furthermore, he was fair and did things the right way. Simply put, he was the best of the best. I know he helped me on more than one occasion. The other day I spoke to a young man who said Deputy Gross had given him a ride to work more than once. These are the kinds of things that he will be remembered for and are a part of that dash.   

In realizing a lot of what I’ve stated is information most of us already know, my hope and intention here is to stress how special this man really was and how I saw him in my eyes. He was an outstanding citizen who lived a meaningful life – more than what many can say. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that many people aren’t as honest and trustworthy as originally thought. However, things come out in the wash and are never forgotten. Deputy Gross’s loss is huge for a reason – he was unique. He treated people good. He had no regrets and lived a life worthy of recognizing at a very high level. To me, that is worth more than anything. That’s what I call integrity, intelligence and character to name a few. It’s about the dash.  

Dan Rayner 


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