November 24, 2001
To say that I am deeply, deeply saddened by Nenadès death is very inadequate. As the builder of the LUN, I had a very special connection with him and to his quest, and I awaited his triumphant phone call as he approached Ireland.
When he and the LUN disappeared on September 30, I was crestfallen, but held out hope that he and the boat would be found safe and sound. As time passed, I still held out hope that we would experience a ômiracle at seaõ. When I received word last weekend that the LUN had been found with no sign of Nenad, I was heartbroken. Only then did I allow myself to begin to grieve. I am very, very, sad.
I want to say a few words to honor Nenad. First, I was always struck by his enthusiasm, his optimism, and his courage. In the brief time I knew him, I only got a taste of his energy. To have experienced more of that must have been an incredible thing.
I admired the fact that he had a dream -- a flame that did not flicker -- burning inside him. And I admired the fact that he was "gonna go for it". Many of us donèt have such a flame, and if we do, we donèt allow it to burn, as he did.
While I was building LUN, I occasionally had a question regarding a design or construction detail. Often, when I called his office, the receptionist would say something like, "I'm sorry, Dr. Belic is with a patient. Can I take a message?" When I told her it was Steve Najjar, she would most often say, "Oh, hi Steve, you make his day. I'll put you right through." I was in awe, I guess, that in the midst of his work as a cardiologist, in the midst of helping to save patients lives, that my building LUN for him "made his day".
I also want to share the fact that my wife had kidney cancer several years ago. Whenever we spoke on the phone, or when he would visit the shop, he never failed to ask about her health. I knew that he was not asking as an MD, but as a true and caring friend.
He was, indeed, an incredible human being, and a dear friend. I will carry his memory for the rest of my days.