My tribute to my little brother and my best friend, Edwin Wilson, this tribute is long overdue. I have wanted to write something about Edwin for years, but the memories were just too painful. But today it brings me much joy, to share with everyone the great memories we made together. I often think about his charismatic nature, and realize that his spirit lives in me, and everyone that he loved, and all who loved him. Sometimes is still hard to believe that he is gone, even twenty years later. If my brother could here this speech today he would say what a paragon she has become, she has followed in my footprints after all. When I think about why I picked my brother Edward Lewis Woodel to do a tribute about, I often think about all the great times we had growing up. Edwin was born on September 04, 1962, he was the fourth child of David and Jenny Wilson and boy where they proud. At this time my parents had two children, my brother Bob and myself. Our first brother Joseph had died a year prior to my birth from infant heart disease. So we often we heard my parents talk about having another baby, well here he was and we were all very happy. My brother Bob, and I watched over him from the start, and we became his protector. One of my greatest memories about Edwin was he really loved people, and boy did he love to make people laugh. We were always joking around, and having fun all the time. Edwin was so quick witted, and had a great sense of humor, finding something funny in the most random things. He was always acting silly, singing songs, and repeating phases from his favorite cartoons. By the age of 6 years old, Edwin got his first nickname, our family name for him was “little boot camp”; he had a buzz haircut, work boots, and an army jacket. He loved to be on the go, going to visit the elderly ladies in our neighborhood helping them with different household chores. He would say to my mom even at that age, I have to help them mom they need me, and she would let him go. All the ladies loved him, and talked about him all the time. When Edwin turned 8 years old, he asked my dad if he could become a peewee wrestler on the local PBA youth team. So he tried out, and became the top wrestler in the county for seven straight years. We all supported him during this time, and it became a family event. Cheering him on, and just watching his interactions with others brought great joy to our family. At this time is when he got his nickname “Wilson”, which followed him for the duration of his life. Everybody knew Wilson; it was like he was a celebrity, and believe me he loved it. Always doing things for other people, they would call ask for help, or just an ear to listen, and he would be there. I believe that some people have certain qualities that make them distinctive. Some are creative, some innovators, and others are born leaders. Yet few people have the ability to inspire. Edwin was one of those people. Just having opportunity to play a round of golf or tailgate at a Penn State game, with him, or grab a cup of coffee and talk about our family stories. Yet I'm a better person because of him, and I will be eternally grateful for that.
He really had a zest for life, and his ability to trudge ahead, was amazing to me. He always did very well in everything he set out to accomplish. I was very proud of Edwin; I learned life lessons from him that I could not have learned from anyone else. We learned to be patience and tolerant of others, as my parents painstakingly taught us to comprehend in all situations. My parents instilled in us real core valves, about right and wrong, as well how we communicate with each other, spiritually and emotionally. Edwin took this seriously, and we all stood behind him 100%, he did things that I never thought of doing at his age. One of his many accomplishments was helping with feeding the homeless at a local shelter, because he wanted to make a difference. Then onto being on the honor student in high school, to becoming class president in his junior and senior year, too making plans to go off to college, and then becoming a police officer. I never thought of doing things like this, my greatest accomplishment life was graduating from high school, and getting a job. Not thinking about doing anything else, let alone helping anyone, or maybe even making a difference in someone else’s life. See that was the difference between me and him, Edwin was self-less and I was very selfish, and I never even realized it. One day we met for coffee, and had the most cherished conversation a week prior to his accident, he said; remember sis (that’s what my brothers called me) all goals are reachable if you work hard to achieve them. I believe that with dedication and faith, you too can accomplish anything you set out to do in life and become a winner too. Today I believe that the experiences that you are exposed to in life shape you into the person you become, and I am here for you no matter what, I am your younger brother, and I want the best for you. That was the last time we spoke. Although it has not always been easy, I am thankful that my brother has played such a large part in my life, and I am certain that my best attributes are due to his influence. So, when people say, “Your brother was so awesome,” I smile and think, “If you only knew.” Today I believe the hardest part of all is just saying to him, I love you Edwin one more time. Today my family and peers see me as being compassionate and loving, just as he was, and I am frequently the person people come to for advice. You see, Edwin has made me a good listener, and from him, I began to understand that you can learn a lot more by listening. I have learned that accepting all people, has opened up doors to interesting and valuable experiences, and that everyone should be treated with love and respect. So in closing my brother was a great young man, and my best friend. He left behind a strong legacy, one that I will never forget; one that constantly reminds me to live life to its fullest, and continue to be the best I can be.I have a favorite photo of Edwin that I keep by my night stand; it reminds me of his smiling face, and how much I love, and miss him. Thank you.