It’s always sad to lose someone, seemingly before their time. It’s even sadder when such a loss is so great to the community they leave behind.
(Editor’s Note: It is our pleasure to acknowledge a request to republish our remembrance to a good friend to everyone in Covington, Ohio. Donny Yingst passed away prematurely on this date – May 29, 2012 – leaving a void in the hearts of everyone who knew him. With gratitude to his memory, we have not forgotten one of that community’s best.)
A good man – a good friend, Donny Yingst – was lost to Miami County and the Covington community six years ago today when he died in a one-car crash on a country road west of Covington. Yingst was reportedly on his way home from work.
It’s sad, but it’s even sadder when you understand what Donny Yingst typically did when got home from work.
You see, Donny Yingst was a giver; a giver of his time, to the kids in the Covington community that he helped coach and mentor…as a junior high basketball coach, as an assistant on the high school baseball team, and as a volunteer for sundry projects that ultimately served the needs of others.
He was 48 years old, a 1982 graduate of Covington High School, and the father of four boys that have grown up in his likeness…Dusty, Corey, Jeremy, and Bailey, then a sophomore at Covington High School. Not surprising, they’re all givers, too…teachers, coaches, stewards of the community.
Over the years I spent enough time with Donny Yingst to appreciate his commitment to others – his genuineness. Some sing in the choir on Sunday and call it being involved. Donny sang all week long. He was never a great athlete growing up, but I’ve never seen anyone so dedicated and so patient to learn from others about how to teach kids the fun of playing baseball, basketball, football…and how to enjoy competition – how to get better.
He loved to support the process. He kept the book for the high school baseball team on Friday, and tirelessly threw batting practice for the Midget League kids on Saturday…as long as it took.
On Wednesdays during football season he’d work all night on third shift, then come to Smith Field and help paint the field for Friday night’s football game…to make the experience all the more special for the kids who played.
He operated the clock and scoreboard for the varsity basketball games.
He helped neighbors bale hay.
He took people to the doctor when they couldn’t take themselves.
And best, he taught Dusty, Corey, Jeremy (nicknamed “G”) and Bailey to grow up to be just like him. When my neighbor’s house burned to the ground last fall, it was Jeremy who put on the gear and climbed into a smoke-filled inferno to make sure that everyone was out safely…because he could. And, because he wanted to.
Be a giver, and never ask for anything in return. That was Donny Yingst. That was his legacy. That’s the void he leaves in his community.
It’s a sadness of the heart…the feeling in Covington on Wednesday, Thursday, and how many days more? For those who knew Donny Yingst, and there are few who didn’t know him, there’s an emptiness to understand why fate could seem so cruel.
Condolences to his family…to his friends. It’s not enough. Covington still misses Donny, as well as those who never had the chance to know him. Yes, a sadness of the heart.
It hurts to lose a giver…when there are so few.