Monday, April 16, 2007

A Permanent Memorial

Colonel Kevin Bennett, J.B.'s commanding officer at Spangdahlem Air Force Base, recently wrote to tell us that a permanent memorial for Jamin had been set in place at the sight of his accident. Thanks to the efforts of the wonderful Air Force family, Jamin will always be remembered for his certain smile and his contributions to the base. The words "The Best Ever" were chosen because they were some of Jamin's favorite words. He used them often, and we all thought they were a perfect way to both remember and to describe him.
Special thanks to Colonel Bennett for leading this effort, to Hannah Harris for choosing the monument, and for all those who contributed time and finances to remember Jamin in this way. He would have been humbled and amazed! I know we are. -BW

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

In His Own Words - Life's Little Instructions For Relationships

One of the most incredible character traits that Jamin possessed was that of self-improvement. He was continually looking for ways to be a better person than the already much loved person that he was.

I have always been amazed (and, yes, a little jealous) by the relationships that Jamin formed throughout his life with family, friends, girlfriends, and even simple acquaintances. He seemed to know and be known by some truly incredible people, seemingly without much effort on his part. However, I recently have come to realize that it wasn't out of coincidence. Jamin actively pursued relationships with people that he knew would challenge him - both by what they could teach him and by what he could teach them (which he saw as an equally important and often more rewarding challenge). It seemed that nice, intellectual, funny, wise, encouraging people flocked to him exponentially as the years went by. With each new year Jamin became a more likeable person - the kind of person that everyone enjoys being around (including myself). It was, however, only due to a great deal of risk, failure and determination on his part that a better understanding of relationships developed and was put into practice.

Case and point: Below is a list that we found in a notebook from his apartment written in his own handwriting and entitled "Life's Little Instructions For Relationships." Although I am sure that he picked up many of these ideas from other sources the fact that he remembered their advice well enough to include it as part of his own speaks enough for itself. I think that even if we all take only one or two of these to heart we will all be better people than we are today:

[Jamin's] Life's Little Instructions For Relationships
  1. Marry only for love.
  2. Keep several irons in the fire.
  3. Be alert for opportunities to show praise and appreciation.
  4. Don't make the same mistake twice.
  5. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
  6. Watch for big problems. They disguise big opportunities.
  7. Don't insist on running someone else's life.
  8. Don't rain on other people's parades.
  9. Don't miss the magic of the moment by focusing on what's to come.
  10. Look for opportunities to make people feel important.
  11. Send your loved one flowers. Think of a reason later.
  12. Don't be afraid to say, "I made a mistake."
  13. Don't be afraid to say, "I'm sorry."
  14. Never compromise your integrity.
  15. Never underestimate the power of a kind word or deed.
  16. Don't allow self-pity. The moment this emotion strikes, do something nice for someone less fortunate than you.
  17. Be enthusiastic about the success of others.
  18. When you and your wife have a disagreement, regardless of who's wrong, apologize. Say, "I'm sorry I upset you. Would you forgive me?" These are healing, magical words.
  19. Stay out of night clubs.
  20. Never give a love one a gift that suggests they need improvement.
  21. Compliment even small improvements.
  22. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power, or prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.
  23. Save an evening a week for just you and your wife.
  24. Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else choose it for you.
  25. Every day look for some small way to improve your marriage.
  26. Be there when people need you.
  27. To explain a romantic break-up, simply say, "it was all my fault."
  28. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
  29. Never walk out on a quarrel with your wife.
  30. Instead of using the words, "if only," try substituting the words, "next time."
  31. Instead of using the word "problem," try substituting the word "opportunity."
  32. Ever so often push your luck.
  33. Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.
  34. Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.
  35. Hear both sides before judging.
  36. Refrain from envy. It's the source of much unhappiness.
  37. Never underestimate the power of love.
  38. Never underestimate the power of forgiveness.
  39. Remember that a successful marriage depends on two things: (1) Finding the right person and (2) Being the right person.
  40. See problems as opportunities for growth and self-mastery
  41. Accept pain and disappointment as part of life.
  42. Practice empathy. Try to see things from other people's points of view.
  43. Get and stay in shape.
  44. Never underestimate your power to change yourself.
  45. never overestimate your power to change others.
  46. Not matter how dire the situation, keep your cool.
  47. When facing a difficult task, act as though it is impossible to fail. if you're going after Moby Dick, take along tartar sauce.
  48. Don't whine.
  49. Every day show your family how much you love them with your words, with your touch, and with your thoughtfulness.
  50. Learn to show cheerfulness, even when you don't feel like it.
  51. Learn to show enthusiasm, even when you don't feel like it.
  52. Take good care of those you love.
  53. Never cut what can be untied.
  54. Be willing to lose a battle in order to win the war.
  55. See out the good in people.
  56. When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
  57. Have impeccable manners.
  58. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
  59. Never tell anyone they loo tired or depressed.
  60. Swing for the fence.
  61. Don't be called out on strikes. Go down swinging.
  62. Don't forget, a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
  63. Be romantic.
  64. never take action when you're angry.
  65. Be your wife's best friend.
  66. Be kinder than necessary.
  67. Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come ninety percent of all your happiness or misery.
  68. Slow dance.
  69. In business and in family relationships, remember that the most important thing is trust.
  70. Never forget your anniversary.
  71. Admit your mistakes.
  72. make the best of bad situations.
  73. Surprise loved ones with little unexpected gifts.
  74. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
  75. never give up on anybody. Miracles happen every day.
  76. Make new friends but cherish the old ones.
  77. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
  78. Look people in the eye.
  79. Say "thank you" a lot.
  80. Say "please" a lot.
  81. Learn to play a musical instrument.
  82. Watch a sunrise a least once a year.
  83. Remember other people's birthdays.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Will others say the same of us?

The Wilson Family will always be thankful for the positive way in which J.B. impacted so many people. Many have related how their lives were changed by the example he set in the life he lived. Following are a few assorted comments out of the hundreds that were sent to the Wilson Family following Jamin’s death:

“J.B.’s manifest delight in life, I think changed the way many people approached their lives.”

“He had a positive outlook about everything. I can’t remember a single bit of negative emotion coming out of Jamin.”

“It is, I think, a not insignificant consolation that all who knew J.B. were enriched by it.”

“He was devoted and open to forming friendships.”

“His wide smile was a guaranteed bright spot in my day.”

“He was, and is, an inspiration to his friends to live fully and to make brighter the lives of people we encounter.”

“He consistently demonstrated his heart for the less fortunate, an amazing work ethic, sense of humor, & calmness in tense moments.”

“He was a brilliant young man who poured out his life to care for the people around him. He was a man who embodied peace and joy, and it radiated from him to his last breath.”

“Through it all, his starting point was integrity and sincerity, and it impacted all of our lives. He was a model of consistency and compassion.”

“…it is very hard to lose him when in fact, the world needs so many more like him.”

“He was one of the most 'adult' people I knew in my time at Harvard, and it made me feel safer to know that he was one of the people protecting our country.”

“…take some comfort in knowing how much we value the positive impact his life had upon ours.”

“Jamin was the consummate optimist, able to find silver linings in the profound and the ordinary.”

“He was an exceptional person in a culture full of them … scholar, athlete, linguist, technician, winner, patriot, and upstanding forward-thinking individual. Please always be proud of him, I assure you that we are.”

“The way Jamin lived his life is the way life should be lived. He made the most of every moment he had, and brought others along for the ride.”

‘He always did the right thing, no matter what the crowd was doing. His morals never wavered. Jamin could always be relied upon to be the voice of reason amongst our friends. I have met very few people in my life who I’ve wanted to emulate more.”

“Since working with Lt. Wilson, when faced with a choice, I ask myself what he would have done.”

“Lt. Wilson did not just follow the core values of the Air Force. He embodied them. ‘Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do’.”

“… he always drove me to be a better person. There was goodness about J.B. that contagiously emanated from him.”

“I remember J.B. as one of the most truly sincere, congenial and caring people I have known.”

“He is not the first colleague I’ve had to say a final good- bye to, but he was undoubtedly the best.”

A Helping Hand

Submitted by Jamin's Aunt Cindy:

One summer our two oldest sons, Sam and Dean, ages 14 and 11, got the notion to build a bunker on the top of the hill on our ranch. Each morning they would trudge up the hill with their picks and shovels to work on what was going to be the “coolest fort ever”. Well, Colorado’s summers are hot and dry, and it was slow going digging down in that rocky, hard soil, but finally after several days they had managed to dig a hole large enough for both of them to fit into. At our weekly Sunday family lunch at Grandmother’s my sons told their cousins about the fort they had been working on, J.B.’s ears perked up, and he enthusiastically volunteered to come out and help them with their project. The boys were absolutely thrilled to think that their oldest cousin who had graduated from high school was going to lend a hand. I tried to temper their enthusiasm knowing that young men his age often made promises with good intentions, but often didn’t follow through. Shame on me, for doubting J.B.’s good intentions! True to his word, as soon a he could, J.B. set aside a day and arranged to drive out to the ranch. What great excitement there was when his chartreuse VW bug pulled up at our back door! In J.B. style, he arrived early, prepared with his own shovel. There was no dallying; J.B. had come to work and work they did! All day in that hot summer sun! Toward late afternoon I decided to hike up the hill with our four year old son to see if they had been able to make much progress. When we made it to the top I was absolutely dumbfounded by what we saw! They had managed to dig a cavern large enough to fit a car into! All three faces were beaming, mission accomplished, thanks to J.B.!

Share Your Memories

This site has been created for friends, family, and co-workers of Jamin Wilson to share their memories, photos, and videos of this incredible man. Feel free to comment on any posts that have already been created. However, if you would like to be added as a contributor to this blog please send me an email at Please include your name and your relationship to Jamin so that I can add you to the list. This will allow you to upload text, photos, or videos whenever a memory comes to mind.