Missy Hettich Jabara
is honored with a Large Paver from Harvey Jabara.
While I am hesitant to pursue an analogy related to my lifelong love for athletics as an illustration for the love I have for my wife, Missy Jabara, and the impact she has had on my life, I believe those who know me best will accept this tribute as my heartfelt presentation of the feelings I have for the most special person in the world to me.
In every athletic event regardless of the sport, level of the participants, or significance of the game, I am a firm believer that the outcome is determined in some form by a certain defining moment that occurs during the course of the contest. At times, these events are obvious and recognizable even to the most novice of observers. More often, however, a defining moment occurs with such subtly that only those with a keen eye and vast experience in the game identify the happening as influential in its relationship with the eventual outcome.
Such is the way outside of athletics as well. Little do we realize that seemingly insignificant occurrences may eventually prove to be life-changing events. My aunt, Donna Jabara Baker, was a wonderful lady with an instinctive ability to persistently cause something to happen if she believed it was best for all parties involved. For over two years after my return to Wichita, Donna quietly dropped hints that I should consider a date with a girl she knew through alumni activities of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority at Wichita State University named Missy Hettich. It so happened I knew of Missy given the fact we went to the same junior high and high school. I remembered Missy as a cute cheerleader but really did not know her. Nevertheless, as adorable as I remembered her, I simply was not going to allow my aunt to suggest the course of my love life. I explained to Donna that while I may appear to desperately be in need of guidance, I really was capable of managing the situation on my own, though I did appreciate her help. (The last part was said so as not to offend a loving, caring aunt!)
As is often the case, my words were ignored. At an auction to benefit the Miss U.S.A. Pageant I helped organize, Donna, without my knowledge, invited Missy to attend. I am proud to say that you know it when Missy walks into a room. From the moment our eyes met I knew she was someone special. It is difficult to describe the feeling you have when you meet someone that is unquestionably beautiful, both on the outside as well as in her heart and mind. Soon thereafter, Missy and I would have a first date and while we dated for nearly four years prior to marriage, we knew that God, through Donna, intended for us to be with each other.
Shortly after our first date, Donna's life was taken from her. Not a single day passes without recollecting our thoughts and memories of Donna and our thankfulness for her good deed. We know she looks down upon us with joy and pride. My aunt made me the luckiest guy in the world. No man could be blessed with a more wonderful spouse than Missy Jabara. She is the kindest, sweetest, most beautiful girl on this Earth. Even more meaningful, I have no better friend than my wife. Little did I expect my aunt to create the defining moment in my life that night at the Olive Tree. However, her efforts certainly have and will continue to determine the outcome of my life for the better.
September 5, 1998