“I’m convinced that because of his deep love for God, Paul seized every moment of every day. This is how he lived – he really lived. And it is how he teaches us to live – to make each day an adventure and not to fear.” – An Excerpt from the Homily at Paul Coakley’s Funeral Mass
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Carpe Diem’ but, have you ever seen it? For those who were blessed enough to know, work, or even come into brief contact with Paul Coakley the answer is a resounding yes.
Paul Coakley was the year-round Program Director at Camp Gray from 2010 to 2014 and during that time he left an indelible mark on the fabric of Camp. From his infectious laugh to kayaking down Camp’s sledding hill, Paul’s time at Camp was always an adventure. Unfortunately, Paul was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2014 and died one month later in January of 2015. He truly lived each and every day with a special kind of joy, humility, and love that is hard to describe but I’ll give it a shot anyway.
Paul was always serving others and never liked the limelight. Sure there were the awesome stories of crazy adventures and death-defying stunts but the lasting impact of Paul aren’t any of those things. It’s the simple, consistent kindness he showed to everyone he met. It’s the radical faith and love he showed in the midst of suffering. He knew how to live life to the full with great charity in his heart that overflowed into his family, friends, and those he worked with.
The lessons that came from this extraordinary life shouldn’t be contained to those who were blessed to know him. The wealth of his life deserves to be shared and we here at Camp Gray want to carry on his legacy. People deserve to know such a shining example of Christ’s light even after his death. Much like the stories of our beloved saints, Paul, was a saint among us with a story that challenges us all to live a higher call.
With that in mind, we are happy to share that the new gymnasium being built on Camp will have an indoor 40′ climbing wall that will be named in honor of Paul Coakley – Paul’s Wall. There is not a more fitting piece of Camp to be built in his memory. He loved the joy of a good challenge and knew the benefits of pushing yourself to do things you never thought possible. We hope to instill the same values that Paul lived for every time a camper grabs ahold of Paul’s Wall and hoists themselves to the heights.
In a similar way we are asking all of you who knew Paul, love Camp Gray, or find yourself moved by this story to help raise Paul’s Wall. The wall will cost $100,000 to complete and we need your help to make this a reality. Your contribution will help to carry on the incredible legacy of this amazing man.
You can donate to Paul’s Wall – a part of the Strength for the Journey campaign – by going to www.campgray.com/sftj and clicking ‘Donate Now’. Thank you so much in advance for contributing to this worthy cause.
“Paul was great because he loved. And he loved big. He did everything big… he gave 100% – gave his all – especially when it came to love. This is the essence of beatitude – selflessness, self-giving, self-donation… sacrifice. All of which is at the heart of what it means to love.” – An Excerpt from the Homily at Paul Coakley’s Funeral Mass