As we are all still reeling from the news of Blake’s passing, I am grateful for the time that we had with him. Thank you to Blake for being such a passionate leader who pushed us all to be better, stronger, resilient leaders who are laser focused on PEOPLE. Blake always made time for the teams and when he spoke to you, you felt like you had 100% of his attention regardless of what was going on around you.

I was fortunate to have a number of Blake visits but one that stood out to me the most was when I was at Brea as an interim store manager. It was my first “Blake visit” as a store manager and I was nervous. Blake brought Andy with him who was about 14 at the time. I thought great, that might take a bit of the pressure of me. Boy, was I wrong. Now looking back, it was even better than I could have ever imagined. I got to see Blake not only as the leader but as father. Blake was engaged, focused, curious, he didn’t let a single detail go unnoticed all the while, including Andy in the conversation, asking his opinion and guiding him through the walk. During that visit, I saw how important family was to Blake and that he was willing to share that side of himself with his team. One of the many reasons, he was an incredible leader.

Thank you to Molly, Alex and Andy for sharing Blake with all of us. He will be greatly missed but his legacy will live on in all of us.

Brynn Herthel