A Good Epitaph to Have: Leroy Columbo

This is a story from my first book, Stories from the Creekbank. It concerns a famous person from Galveston, Texas. The plaque mentioned is at sidewalk level atop the sea wall.
A Good Epitaph to Have



Have you ever thought about what epitaph you’d like to have? Recently as I walked Galveston’s seawall, I read a plaque:

In memory of Leroy Columbo

A deaf mute who risked his own life repeatedly to save more
than one thousand lives from drowning in the waters
surrounding Galveston Island.

Looking out over the Gulf of Mexico, I wondered about what kind of man Leroy Columbo was. Evidently, he was a man who exhibited a passion for saving lives. I suspect he was also someone who overcame his physical challenges, and put everything fiber of his being into the life-saving business.
Gazing down the beach, I visualized Leroy Columbo sitting alertly on his lifeguard stand. There he was—by far the most focused lifeguard on Galveston Island. I can picture him sitting on his perch oblivious to the surrounding honking horns and squealing children with his focused gaze surveying the waters for the signs of a swimmer in distress. . .


I can imagine his joy as he handed a rescued child over to a terrified mother—how many changed lives resulted from his live‑saving work! With each saving act, his passion grew deeper to do what he was born to do—saving lives.

As a believer, I’m to be alert as a lifeguard.

Let’s keep our gaze out on the waters as we strive to reach those who need the life‑changing news of how much God loves them. Let’s do whatever it takes to serve and minister to others! What greater privilege is there in life than to be part of a person coming to know Jesus Christ?

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Luke 15:10

P.S. After the publication of this story, a Galveston native told of watching Leroy Columbo on his lifeguard stand. He was evidently a larger-than-life character along the beachfront.

To learn more about Stories from the Creekbank, as well as other books by Curt Iles, visit http://creekbank.net


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