I lost a really close friend in my life this weekend, a really close co-worker,  an all around nice guy, he was only in his early 30’s but was already a good Lineman with a bright future ahead.

His real name is Craig Bennet.  I know him as Nugget.  Couldn’t tell you why in particular they gave him the Nugget nickname but it had to be something to do with Gold.  His parents must have known something about how special he was and we would all have to wait and learn his brightness later.  They were right.

On my dock, he’s a new Dad, and would have been a great mentor to many of those newbies and even to me, and oldie, who has not had a mentor in a ton of years.   He talked about his Dad every day which struck a soft spot in me.  I saw his Dad in me and hoped my son talks about me in the way Nugget did his.

We could go fishing and get along.

His experiences with his family were a daily tradition.  I loved hearing about them.  He kept me speechless.  He was his Dad.

Craig died this weekend.  He just died.  His death was unexpected and my crying is like the greater Mississippi which is as much as unexpectant as his death.   The world’s Utility Lineman trade will miss having Craig in their brotherhood.

The picture below shows Craig having his Pole-Buddy, Steve Pack’s back that day.  He made sure Pack was safe and was going home to his wife and kids.

Nugget with Pack

I love Craig!  There’s no past-tense.  I will never stop missing him till I die and he will always be in my thoughts every day I breathe .    He reminded me of my son, Dan.  He’s that great.

He is what made us achieve a 100% QAQC at Paradise Valley Operations.  He’s my hero doing that.  Crappy of me if I let a day go by that I didn’t tell him.

There is nothing that can take this kind of pain away but we can do something to to honor, Craig, our Nugget.  Today, I’m going to honor this young man.  You must do the same.  Please. . . take the time to lower your head and honor this man of our men and women in this great trade.

When I talk about being significant in some way everyday, it’s not just idle chit chat.  It’s truly about taking that moment and doing something that could make a difference, no matter how small you think it is.

If we don’t try, then a tragic, horrible incident just gets lost in a million other tragic horrible incidents that are going on right now at this same time.

To honor Craig, is to honor how much he loved his job, the trade and the friends he made here.  He was totally in love with his family.  To do that, you do something, change something or fix something in Craig’s name.

IMG_0013You watch someone’s back a little more, you work a little safer, you tell someone you love them more often, you mend a fight, you step up, try to say sorry to someone that may be long over due.

You be present, remember, PRESENT, at every part of your day.  What’s that mean?  When at work, you be there 100%, not worrying about outside issues that could side track you from going home safe.  Your time-keeping means nothing unless your safe,

When you leave work, you leave the dramas of silly things, silly no-nothing things, silly stupid things and the stupid problems.  Leave the issues of nothingness behind when you sign off so you can be with your family or friends 100%.  You can’t be present part way somewhere else and only half way present with the ones you care about when you’re with them.

Maybe you just change something in your own life that no one else sees but you know what that is and know you can do and be better.

Maybe it’s being a little more patience, speak a little kinder, stop prejudging so quickly or maybe just take time to breathe and truly enjoy the moment.

Nugget on the pole

Any little change you can do to be significant in your self or to someone else even if they don’t realize your doing it can honor Nugget so that something positive can come from something that is so out of our control.   This tragedy gives us all a chance to do better.

Why am I upset?  Because I could have done better.  I could have been a better Dad.  I could have been a better teacher.  But who knew Nugget was my mentor and he was great at it and he was so much younger than me.

Thanks Nugget for making me a better man just by knowing you.

My life from now on?

I’m Nugget,  I’m Craig, from now on.

Thanks young man . . . thank you for teaching me life.

The End

“The best part of life starts at the top of the stretch.”
The WiseGuy

Click here to read more stories of The WiseGuy

13 thoughts on “Nugget”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing. Your right, we often get so tied up in our routine that we miss all the opportunities to recognize the talent and knowledge at our door step. I will honor Nugget and you for not only telling me it can be different…but showing me.

  2. I worked with Craig everyday, it was such an absolute pleasure to be near him. He was so proud to be a Journeyman Lineman, he was the quintessential pole buddy. I wish I could write something magical, something brilliant, something, anything that would ease the pain felt by the people that knew him. No one should have to experience this loss. What an awesome friend, such a good guy. I miss his text messages, I looked forward to the simple chit chat and the easy conversations that seemed to go on and on. He will be perpetually missed.

  3. RIP Nugget! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 Your words showed haw close you two were and knowing you… were probably a true friend to him in all ways. I’m sorry for your pain and loss. You’ll aways have Nugget watching over you and think of the great memories and cherish them.

  4. Thank you, once again, for sharing your powerful thoughts and words. Something tells me you were likely very special to Nugget as well….my prayers and healing thoughts are with you all during this difficult time. 🙏

  5. Thank you for this!! He was such of amazing cousin to me!! I love this!!! This made smile and cry at the same time!!

  6. I didn’t know “Nugget” however I heard my husband Jim speak of him frequently. I never knew his real name,all I knew was he was a good hand, young and proud of his family and his career. I had called Jim, as he was driving home from Colorado and I couldn’t reach him. It was a long one day trip so I checked on him about every hour. I knew he was on the phone so I waited. I called back about 15 min later, when he answered I immediately knew something was wrong. I asked if he was alright. He answered “no” and began to tell me he just got off the phone with Bill. My heart sunk to such a low when he told me about “Nugget”,I said take a break, walk around,shake it off and come home safe. See for me this was hard to hear as in the past few weeks a friend lost her 27 yr old son and this just added to the grief. Why is it the good ones die so young? With tears rolling down my face all I can say is love the one’s you care for, love them with all you have. Yes Bill, be present because the gift of life is right now.

  7. Nicely stated.

    I stood in front of his cubicle today for quite a while today, looking at the pics he has hanging, remembering working with him on a shit job for half the day Friday, and wondering “wtf”?

    I’m still at a loss for words, kinda numb.

    Sent from The Pad


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