There’s been an outpouring of love for the nephew of Heather Dawson, Dawson Hartwig who taught us all to love like Dawson.
There is no more devastating pain than that of a parent losing a child. One family that has dealt with this pain in a very public way is San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwick and his wife Holly. Their 20 year old son Dawson tragically died during a trip with friends to Lake Arrowhead.
Dawson was a well-liked college student who was known for his positive outlook on life and his love for others. His death was shocking and unexpected. It made headlines throughout California. But, it was how his family chose to react and remember this promising young man that has gained even more attention.
As we began to mourn and grieve the loss of Dawson, our family couldn’t speak a word without talking about the love that Dawson had for us and then so many others within hours of his death the hashtag love like Dawson began spreading on social media.
The love like Dawson campaign started by his siblings and friends became a reflection of Dawson’s faith and love for others. We have this thing we’ve been saying, love like Dawson. When people say love like Dawson, I just think love like Jesus because that’s what Dawson did. He was just a great picture of how Jesus loved people unconditionally and so effortlessly. Love like Dawson isn’t just a slogan, it’s a response to his life and a way of choosing love in every situation. Dawson’s love is unconditional it’s loyal it’s forgiving it’s warm and it’s free.
They say you can judge someone by their funeral. Over 3,000 people celebrated Dawson’s life, where his family spoke of the love Dawson shared. But he was more than a brother to me, he was a best friend and a role model and someone I looked up to. Literally I could tell him anything and he would just love me unconditionally. He was the most loving person I’ve ever known. I think that the best way to describe his love for others as effortless. When it comes to being a big brother Dawson had it down. He was kind loving protective funny and always knew how to put a smile on your face.
As you’ve heard Dawson had a huge heart. He was the easygoing laid-back peaceful confident always quick to make you laugh, the one who just brought a sense of peace to the room. He never had a harsh word for anyone and he never spoke back to me. He was such a comfort to have around he would come up and give me a hug when I would least expect it. Your faith integrity and love inspire me to be a better person. I want to live in a way that brings you honor.
While these have been tough times, Dawson’s family has made a conscious effort to love despite the tragedy. Love is a choice and the Hartwig’s choose to love like Dawson.
We will love more, we will love better and we will love deeper. Dawson continues to touch people.
An avid guitar player, Dawson’s original song is available on iTunes. Dawson had planned on going on a mission trip to Thailand, you can help continue Dawson’s desire to reach children around the world by donating to global outreach at the love like Dawson Facebook page. Dawson had a heart for others no matter who they were and where they were from, today’s world could use a lot more unconditional love. Let’s love like Dawson.