Spencer was always someone who put others ahead of himself, and wanted to make people happy, no matter what. He loved nature, video games, cooking, and spending time with friends. Some of my favorite memories with him were catching turtles on Larks Lake, playing Call of Duty or NCAA Football on his Xbox, and trying some of his culinary concoctions.

He said he loved catching painted turtles because “the net doesn’t hurt them, and they’re the most beautiful animal in the lake” (mind you he was only about 14 at the time). He would stand at the front of our pontoon boat while I drove, and we searched for turtles. When we found one, I’d race over, we’d net it, Spencer would note how amazing it looks and unique features it has, and we would put it back in the water. He appreciated them so much that there were times we caught the same turtle twice and he would know because he remembered a distinct pattern or feature it had.

Playing video games with my brother was especially memorable for me. It’s one of the things that made my brother happiest, and something he enjoyed more than anything. He always sought to make other people happy, and video games were his time to make himself happy. I remember vividly playing games like Call of Duty, and I would have all the best weapons and try my hardest, but with nothing other than a knife he’d run circles around me, beating me every, single, time. It was a completely different story when we played NCAA Football. He knew how much I liked that game and would always let me win because he knew how happy it made me. That’s just the type of person he was. I on the other hand always tried to beat him in Call of Duty and never could. Whenever he had a bad day, we’d go play Call of Duty, and 10 minutes later he’d be cracking up laughing at how bad I was, although I was really trying!

Cooking, for him, I think was important because he saw how happy food can make people, and how much people appreciate good food. Besides being a s’mores master, he would experiment with everything from stuffed burgers to egg rolls. One stuffed burger I will never forget was one that had sautéed onions and cheese inside, topped with a cherry jam on a grill toasted bun. It sounds strange, but believe me, it tasted amazing! When he got his first job at Piper’s Pizza, he would draw pictures on the inside of the pizza boxes to make people smile when they opened it up.  He even came up with a pizza while working there that is still on the menu called Spencer’s Pizza. It has almost every veggie on it, which you wouldn’t think would work, but it does!

One day after football practice I was upset, and Spencer said we’re going to Burger King to get some ice cream. I told him I didn’t want any and he said, “too bad, nobody can be upset when they’re eating ice cream.” Spencer genuinely cared about people and wanted to make them smile. Everything he did in life was to make people happy, and smile. We continued to do this until I left for college, whether I was upset and he told me to go there, or I could see he was upset and told him we’re going to get ice cream “because nobody can be upset when they’re eating ice cream.” I will admit though there were days when we just wanted some ice cream, so we’d jokingly say, “today was terrible, better make a stop on our way home.”

As his brother, I was incredibly proud of him, his ability to brighten people’s days, and make them smile no matter the circumstances. He wasn’t the most popular kid, or the most outgoing, but he was genuinely kind, and always did what he could to make people smile.

I never imagined that the Cheetos Club could have or would have gotten as large as it is today. I am honored by Mr. Bailey, and everyone participating in it to help make the world a better place, like Spencer was trying to do — a game of Call of Duty, ice cream cone, or bag of Cheetos at a time.