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The Beat Goes On

How often do you think about the legacy you will leave behind? It may not be often but I am sure all of us have at one point in our lives. I am sure if you are dealing with a terminal illness you probably think about it more often than others. But the truth is, we all have a finite amount of time in this world but we don’t all live that way. If we did, I am sure we would witness many more wonderful things than we do today.


I am sure one of the legacies I will leave behind is my love of music. From an early age music was a big part of my life. Starting with my first drum set as an eight-year-old I wanted to be a drummer. My mom and dad always had music on which resulted in many dances occurring in our living room. My older brother and sisters were also very influential in my musical taste. I continued to play drums my entire life including marching bands, garage bands, and rock bands. I have been to hundreds of concerts with my first being Kiss as an eighth grader and my most recent being the Dave Matthews Band. You can pretty much assume if I know you well enough there is a song or a band I relate to you.


It was my love of music and the drums that led me to my most recent speech. Steve Weekes was a drummer and also a member of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corp. Steve was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1995 and passed away in 2005. The genesis of Rockin’ for a Cure, a musical benefit for ALS, began in 1999, shortly after Steve Weekes was diagnosed with ALS. While waiting for treatment at an ALS clinic, accompanied by siblings, Monica and John Weekes, Steve decided to create a live music fundraiser to help cure ALS. I was honored to be the keynote speaker at this year’s event a few weeks ago. There was a large room full of family and friends who are all committed to carrying on the vision Steve had and in doing so continuing his legacy. Two other former members of the Madison Scouts have also passed from Lou Gehrig’s disease and their memories are a big part of this event as well. The night was filled with music from youth drum corps, bugle corps, and a great live band. After my speech I stood arm in arm with family and friends as they sang and honored their fallen friends. As I looked to my right I saw Steve’s teenage son and couldn’t help but think of my own children. What a wonderful thing for a child to be surrounded with so much love and support for a father taken way too early in life.


We all have a life to live and in the end will leave a legacy behind us. It doesn’t have to be a benefit event to be significant. It may be as simple as a motto or the way you lived your life that will be your legacy. But if you have surrounded yourself with love, laughter, and a passion for life, the beat will go on and your legacy will forever be alive.
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One response to “The Beat Goes On

  1. Karen ⋅

    Great post Jim!
    I will never forget the night you marched down the street on the East side. You were reliving your marching band days…. wearing bright pink lipstick!
    One of many great memories!

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