Rick Nashleanas, Chief Cat Herder.

Photo: from Caleb Thorne

Through Drupal over the years I have been fortunate to meet and get to know many brilliant minds. Kindred spirits brought close by technology even if we lived a world apart, meeting once or twice a year at Drupal Conferences or camps. Through these occasional events, we forge strong meaningful connections which persist via the ether.

Rick Nashleanas was one such bright light. A key figure in my personal story, a kind-hearted gentleman with a bucket load of enthusiasm. He was the one who encouraged me to become involved with Drupal on a global scale. Few times in life do you meet someone like Rick. I feel privileged to have known him. A fantastic mentor who helped me believe in myself, contributing to my gaining confidence to take on big new challenges. But I wasn't alone. Rick made his business Monarch Digital into an elevator for young people embarking upon a career in Drupal, providing an incubator for upcoming developers to realise their potential. And as global chair for DrupalCon he was the catalyst for many others to become active participants in contribution be that code or community.

Anyone who had the good fortune to meet Rick was surely better for it. A beaming smile and enthusiasm by the bucket load. With great integrity, always put people first. So when I wrote a blog at the weekend about how we might open more opportunities to people with Drupal it was obvious, though I hadn't contacted him in a while, that I would reach out to Rick. He always had sage advice. That's perhaps why Caleb Thorne called him a real-life Yoda. It was with great sadness I received a response from his wife to say he had passed away.

Whilst Rick has passed away, for me his light will never go out. I live each day better for knowing Rick, his radiant smile will remain a constant reminder in my mind that each day is an opportunity to do good. His legacy is strong through the very many people he inspired.

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