Some of you out there may remember Charlie Varga. He taught with us for a period of time until a spine injury sidelined him for a while. Charlie Varga was a Riverside SWAT Sergeant and was one of those individuals who comes along once in a lifetime. He truly cared for his men. He strove to make the unit better each and every day. Charlie had a heart as honest and as big as a desert sunrise. If you asked him for anything and I mean anything, he would drop everything to be there for you and by your side. Sadly he passed away last Friday. We last saw him a number of months ago on the range. He was still Charlie and still full of life.
When we lose good people we lose a bit of ourselves. All of us who knew him were given a gift for too short a period of time. There are not a lot of true, genuine people out there and in that respect Charlie was one of those we should feel privileged to have known. His humor was infectious and he always had a positive ‘drive-on’ attitude no matter how difficult the situation became. He gave of himself to his family and children and his men. He gave to you as students, who had the extremely good fortune to come across his path. Charlie gave you his patience, knowledge and wisdom. You were lucky to have known him.
I liked Charlie as he saw the world through a no-nonsense lens yet he did it with humor tolerance and patience. Seeing Charlie always immediately put a smile on my face simply because…well…he was Charlie. Few men who lead others command true genuine respect and yet Charlie did this effortlessly for years from everyone whom he came into contact with. He was respected and loved in the same breath which is not an easy feat to accomplish and he would always do to ‘ride the river with.’
What I will miss the most about Charlie is that he was a real person…I simply liked being around him. There wasn’t a false bone in his body. He was a straight shooter if ever there was one. I will really, really miss him as many of you will. He was an irreplaceable treasure. Goodbye Charlie…we will miss and remember you…I promise.