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Devoted to family
Kyle felt family was the most important part of his life. He spoke often of the significance of having people who accepted you for who you were without question and made sure to let family members know how special they were through letters, poems, and conversations. He was also the driving force for organizing family get-togethers, which he named, “Family Fiestas.” Kyle was a firm believer that with just a little more effort, everyone was capable of doing something that could brighten someone’s day. We were blessed that Kyle made a point of doing just that for members of our family.
intense respect for war veterans
Kyle was a student of the Civil War and World War II. He read and owned a plethora of books on the subjects and watched numerous movies, including Gettysburg and Band of Brothers, two of his favorites. Consequently, Kyle was empathetic to the struggles and sacrifices of the young men called upon to fight and kept close to heart the words of Gen. William T. Sherman who said, "In our Country . . . one class of men makes war and leaves another to fight it out." As a result, Kyle felt compelled to pay tribute to those who served and did so in a number of ways, including interviewing veterans as part of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project. In addition, on Veteran’s Day 2006, he was honored to speak and dine with a Pearl Harbor survivor from Pensacola, Florida
A Student of the world
Kyle’s innate belief in the goodness of mankind drove him to learn more about the vast array of people in the United States, as well as people from throughout the world. To that end, he studied the laws, politics, religions, and beliefs of a multitude of countries and cultures, both here and abroad. His goal was not only to enlighten himself, but to use that knowledge to improve the world around us. Not content to garner information from just books and the Internet, Kyle sought firsthand knowledge, as well. While at the University of Arkansas, Kyle became an Exchange Pal for a foreign exchange student from France and was co-leader of a Conversation Club for foreign exchange students who wanted to practice their English-speaking skills. Kyle also traveled as much as he could and on two occasions went to Belize as a volunteer, first as a member of Engineers Without Borders and secondly with Peacework, an international humanitarian organization. While there, in addition to immersing himself in the culture of the people of that country, he assisted them in building a well and an aquaponics farm and conducted research on how they could reduce erosion on the beaches of Dangriga. Along with Belize, Kyle visited Italy and England with classmates and traveled to Ireland, the Bahamas, and Costa Rica with his family. Each time, he gleaned more knowledge about the world around him and a love for those different from himself. Closer to home, Kyle explored the United States by working as a trail crew member on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania; on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon; and on trails in the Spotted Bear Ranger District in Montana. Additionally, he worked as a ski lift operator in Snowmass, Colorado and was a whitewater rafting guide in Hartford, Tennessee and Stanley, Idaho. One of Kyle’s goals was to one day work for the Peace Corps and to request placement in some faraway place like Nepal or Uzbekistan. Though Kyle did not aspire to become a politician, his thirst for knowledge, desire to understand people from varying backgrounds, and passion for helping others in need led his family to believe he would have made an excellent President of the United States.
Love of Literature and Writing
Kyle loved learning a variety of subjects, but literature and writing, in particular, came easily to him. Kyle’s favorite novel was Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. His enthusiasm for it was such that others who had never read the book were prompted to do so and oftentimes became fans themselves. Even the young son of one of his employers was intrigued enough to ask his parents to read it to him. In addition to Moby Dick, Kyle was captivated by Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Kyle also enjoyed poetry and especially liked the works of Robert Frost.
As can often be the case, Kyle’s love for reading transferred over into a love for writing. Kyle was talented with the pen and wrote numerous captivating stories, letters, and poems. While his family was always aware of his talents, his eighth-grade English teacher at Avalon Middle School was particularly surprised and thrilled when he scored a perfect score on the FCAT writing section. The key ingredient to all of Kyle’s writings was they came from his heart. It is frequently said to someone in their time of sorrow that “no words can express . . . “ This sentiment did not apply to Kyle for in the numerous letters he wrote to others in their time of sadness, he did so with just the right combination of words to sooth their aching souls.