Being a former radio guy, I have an ear for voices.
I heard two over the phone from Wisconsin that night that I will never forget.
One, the familiar, compassionate voice of our beloved friend and coworker, who found him and first told me our boy was gone.
The other, just a short time later that evening, was that of a stranger: Detective Tim.
His is a rather distinctive voice I'm sure I will now recognize in a heartbeat in any context for the rest of my life.
I heard that voice over the phone again on Thursday.
Since that night in June, 2016, certain pieces of personal property were taken into custody of the Milwaukee Police Department of Investigation.
Detective Tim was calling me personally to tell me the M.P.D. has now released those items and I can have them back.
Of course, I can never hear that voice again without being taken back to that horrific evening; body, soul, heartstopping off the charts adrenaline surges, and all.
The detective and I have what I consider an excellent relationship. He let me take him out for coffee a few weeks after he was called to the scene and first entered into our home in Waukesha, while we were in Virginia, staying with our daughter and brand new grandson. A few weeks later, clearly touched by that small gesture, he returned the favor and took me out for a beverage at the same Starbucks.
I told him all the good stuff about Levi. I wanted him to know what an extraordinary young man he really was, and how our son was in no way defined by his final act.
He, in turn, told me about his own wife and children.
I wrote their names on one of the blank pages in the back of my Bible, and told him I would be praying for them.
I shared with him the Gospel of Christ. My fierce, desperate hope was that, if I could be faithful in this, the Lord might mercifully redeem the unspeakable tragedy of my son's death by the eternal redemption of the veteran law enforcement officer who knew him only as the teen fatality on the New Tribes campus, June 23, 2016.
I still pray for the day I may hear that voice telling me our Detective Tim has placed his trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life.
You're invited to pray, as well.
And if that happens, I know Levi, himself, would tell you it was well worth it all.