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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

London Calling

Some of the friends of Alex Reinis following the dedication of a memorial across from Miller Hall on January 13, 2012.

It seemed like fate. It all did. Alex Reinis being called to Trinity University and Miller Hall. Alex being called to study abroad in London. It makes total sense. And yet it doesn't. Alex passed away from a quick and sudden illness on November 23 while studying at the London School. While we reflect on his life, we grapple with his death. Was this part of a plan? Was this fate? Or was it just something that happened? Why him?

I only know of Alex from what I have learned through others. His dad says that they made him apply to other schools besides Trinity. He did, but his mind was made up and his heart was here. He arrived in full force. He was a resident of Miller residence hall and became the "glue" of an informal group called the "Miller Boys." That group, I would learn, and Alex in particular, was inclusive, fun, and very dynamic. Indeed, they seem to be the type of community that you want every traditional college student to be a part of. They loved hanging out on the Miller lawn and eating Whataburger. One could assume that they occasionally attended class (though the testimonials at the January 13 service could lead one to wonder when). They made memories out of the silliest things. And it was all good, clean fun.

It was a foregone conclusion that Alex would study in London. He had always loved it there and had family roots including an aunt and uncle and his grandparents. His grandfather, John Madin, was close with Alex and they were able to re-connect while Alex studied abroad. Below is a picture set of the two of them - one when Alex was two and another from fall, 2011. Sadly, John Madin passed away. He was called to the Lord at the age of 87 on January 8, 2012, less than two months from when Alex died.

Alex and his grandfather.

Alex quickly became a star with his peers and the staff at the London School and was dubbed "Sweet Al." His Trinity friends got a huge kick out of that name. It all fit. He was called and it was a perfect match. He studied through the Institute for the International Education of Students. At their final banquet, Program Director John Ockey, challenged the students to be committed to the wonderful qualities espoused by Alex, and to share this motivation and love to others within their respective spheres. Those students, with "Be Awesome!" wrist bands made in honor of Alex, are pictured here.

Alex's London cohort, December, 2011

London called once more. This time, the news was shocking. He passed away right before our Thanksgiving. The students and staff at London School dedicated a memorial to Alex that included a plaque and an olive tree. Trinity University has dedicated a twin memorial near Miller Hall where Alex spent so much time with his friends. The plaque, from London, is a duplicate. The memorial also includes an olive tree and a bench. A Web page has been designed to keep the memory of Alex alive. Information on the link will be displayed at the Trinity memorial site for future Trinity residents and for friends to recall their days with Alex.

Alex lived his life to the fullest. He made everyone around him happy and he brought people together. His legacy, forever frozen in time, will strengthen and inspire all he touched. Everyone wanted more of Alex than they got. In his own way, he was extreme. He knew few limits. He was a social daredevil and risk-taker (A real note to dorm stranger/neighbor: "My Frisbee is on your balcony. Let's be friends."). He was beloved. His death too, was just as extreme. His family and friends continue to try to reconcile how someone with such life can be gone. Extremely. Suddenly. Tragically.

As we search for reasons and answers as to the circumstances of his death, though, none seem to suffice. What is more, there are anguishing questions that have no answers. What if he hadn't come to Trinity? What if he hadn't gone abroad to a faraway town? Call it fate, or something random. In the end all we are left with is knowing he was drawn away, and there would be no stopping what happened. It's as simple - and complicated - as that. And it will have to do. It was London calling.


Libby Lu said...

Very sweet tribute. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the article “London Calling” in your Dean’s Blog. It was a beautifully written article. Thanks, too, for being there the Miller Boys and Alex’s friends at the memorial at Trinity.
Trinity parent

Yan said...

Cool article! I agree with Anonymous.

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