I have always thought of Arcadia as a patriotic, all-American place where neighbors protect each other and American flags fly proudly on the front patio. Nothing has made me believe more in my assessment of our culture than what transpired this past month when my friend and Arcadia native, Charlie Keating, gave his life rescuing other Americans.
Charlie and I grew up together through Hopi, Ingleside, and Arcadia High School. Not only was he the best runner that our neighborhood has ever produced, but he was also one of the most genuine and humble people I have been around. This is a guy who had already put his life on the line during three previous tours and received a bronze star during combat operations, yet you wouldn’t have heard one peep from him about his exploits. Although he was a decorated warrior, his goofy sense of humor coupled with his laid back approach allowed him to be understated and approachable. We shared a common bond of service to our country, but the conversation would usually turn quickly to our high school shenanigans or what he loved to do in his free time such as surfing, or free diving. He was truly a professional serviceman and his signature smile will surely be missed by the entire Arcadia family.
I would ask that the neighborhood continue to keep the Navy Seal community in its thoughts and prayers. The neighborhood has three other brave men that are currently serving in the Seal teams. Charlie was the first of them to reach the teams and I know that each of the others looked up to him as a role model. I pray that their resilience sees them through this adversity and that they can carry on the legacy of Charlie in their duties.
Some of my fellow Arcadia alumni will be petitioning to name the Arcadia track in Charlie’s name. If you have any pull or resources at the school, please reach out to me so that I can connect you with the group. Your help would be greatly appreciated and would be the least that we could do to honor a true Arcadia hero.