Fifteen years ago, a shy 18 year old who had recently graduated from Tech School, applied for a job with us. He was so shy and of so few words that he didn’t impress anyone initially. He came back the next day, and the day after, and every day for the rest of the week to see if we were going to hire him. His persistence impressed us and therefore paid off. He got the job. Dan Vincent started with us on the bottom rung of the ladder, but soon started to show the confidence of someone that we knew could climb, and climb he did.
Dan was always on the quiet side but as he gained confidence, he opened up and gained the respect of all of us who worked with him. He was always helpful, always pitched in, and never had a negative thing to say about anyone or anything. He was remarkable in that regard. He just looked at the good in life. Dan was a very loyal man: to his family, his friends, his coworkers, his customers, and his company. We all thought green blood flowed inside him, I believe. Over the years, Dan developed some areas of specialty at Shepley. He was a highly-skilled frame load builder, a specialist in loading the trailer trucks that go over to Nantucket on the ferry, and a master of LVL and engineered wood. Dan was good with figuring the cuts that would give the yield but limit the waste. Everyone has always said that they would hear a forklift come up behind them when they were cutting an order and sure enough “Vinny” would be checking on them to make sure the right cuts were being made.
I always figured that “Vinny” came from Vincent, his last name, but someone recently said it was from the movie My Cousin Vinny. Who can forget the Judge (played by Fred Gwynne) questioning the defense attorney (played by Joe Pesci)? Pesci had referenced “two youts” and his Honor peered down from the bench to say, “What’s a yout?”
Our Vinny was a yout when we met him, only 18 years old, a good yout, but a yout just the same. Two weeks ago, we lost him to an automobile accident at age 33. He leaves his wife Heather and two children, with another child to be born next month.
The minister leading the funeral made a wonderful observation that God doesn’t take people away, God gives us life. People may take people away, disease and misfortune take people away, but God gives us life. What took Vinny away was bad weather, a bad road, and terrible fortune. Everyone has been in shock at losing someone so young, so suddenly. We have all seen little bits of Vinny appear in others, though. He was in the long procession of green trucks that drove to the church for his funeral–in honor of him–driven by his friends. He was in the hearts of everyone in the church, including so many with whom he worked, his second family so to speak. He will be in the voids that each of us encounter during the days when we expect him to be there . . . and he isn’t. Instead of being everywhere at Shepley, now he is somewhere else.
We miss his sense of humor, his helpfulness to all, his skill, and his kindness to everyone. If there is a lumber yard in Heaven, Dan has already started working his way right up their ladder too! Farewell our friend. Until we see you again.
If you’d like to make a contribution to Dan’s family, please visit their GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/3br1ca8
Procession of Shepley trucks heading to Dan’s funeral
Dan’s Shepley family before the procession