One week ago today Robert Wong died.
For those of you who don’t know, Robert was a former executive chef at The Greenbrier as well as at other resorts. He owned The Bridge Road Bistro here in Charleston WV. His accomplishments as a chef were numerous and anyone who is interested can do a simple search and learn all about his impressive background.
In reading some of the articles about Roberts death they mention his involvement in starting and running Breaking Bread. Breaking Bread is an opportunity for anyone in the community to gather at his church and have a free dinner each Wednesday The idea was to help feed those in need but there was actually a lot more to it. He wanted those in need and those who can provide help to interact, get know each other and work together. In Roberts mind, whether a person needed help or could provide help, they were simply another person and that is all that mattered to him. I had the privilege of being able to help Robert with the first day of breaking bread and what started as feeding around 20 people has grown to where it’s feeding 120-150 people each week. Does feeding that many people change the world? No. But Robert just wanted to help that one person in front of him.
There was so much more about Robert than being a chef, restaurant owner and church person. He truly loved his family, loved playing tennis and loved being around his sons baseball teams.
The interesting thing to me is hearing all of the stories about how much Robert loved being around people. The reason this is interesting is I knew a different side of him. He would call me up and say he was tired of being around people so wanted to know if I wanted to have a drink (frequently on my deck). He would want to have dinner so we would go late at night to a Mexican restaurant knowing that no one would bother him there. For a person who knew so many people and who so many people knew it was interesting how much he valued his down time and time to be quiet (and I took it as quite the compliment that he would be tired of being around people but he and his wife would want to be around me).
One reason I haven’t written this blog since his death is 3-4 times a week Robert would reply to my blog post. I send it out at 6:06 each morning and frequently by 6:45AM he would respond. Sometimes it was with a question or comment and other times just to say hello and see if I wanted a ride downtown. The idea of writing this and knowing that he will never respond again is depressing.
There are a lot of things I don’t understand. Two things I do know is the world is a better place because Robert Wong lived and right now, it’s a worse place because he isn’t alive anymore.