By Mike Linn: CNJ news editor
He was good at mimicry. He always opened the door for his coworkers. And he had a voracious appetite.
But what coworkers with Cannon Air Force Base Public Affairs remember most about Airman 1st Class Brian Kane was his ability to put a smile on their faces — day in and day out.
Kane died Saturday morning after collapsing at a soccer game on base. He was 29.
“Brian was one of those people who would walk into a room and the entire room would light up,” 1st Lt. Jennifer Geeslin said. “He’d never met an enemy. Brian Kane was a dear friend to me and every day he could put that smile on my face one way or another.”
The cause of Kane’s death is under investigation and his body has been sent for an autopsy, officials said.
Kane, of Ireland, had been an airman at Cannon for 15 months. He was a board member of the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce and often worked with employees there.
Chamber representative Liz Eisenbraun often worked with Kane, whom she described as “very unique, very special.”
“He got involved in the chamber in a way no one in that position had done before,” she said.
Capt. Andre Kok of Cannon Public Affairs said Kane was good at establishing community relations and maintaining contact with the chamber.
“From a work perspective, he was really efficient, good at his job. He was a people person. People grew attached to him the day they met him,” Kok said.
Kane leaves behind an 18-month-old daughter, one whose photos are scattered on his refrigerator and near his desk at work. Anytime he talked about her it would bring a smile to his face, said Keith Pannell, a civilian who writes articles for the base newspaper, the Mach Meter, and worked with Kane at Cannon Public Affairs.
“He had the Midas touch. Anybody he touched, it was like gold. You won’t find anybody who has a bad word to say about Brian … (except that) he made me call soccer football,” Pannell joked.
Often seen mimicking popular lines in movies at the office, Kane — who was healthy and “fit as a fiddle” — had a giant appetite and once helped cleaned the plates of coworkers who were full at a dinner.
As the eight members of Cannon Public Affairs spent time consoling each other over breakfast on Monday, they couldn’t help but remember that hungry appetite.
Kane often placed his friends’ interests above his own: He asked about their hobbies, how their football teams fared over the weekend and he loved to open doors for others, coworkers said.
“He would bend over backwards to do anything for anybody, just because he cared,” Geeslin said. “If there were more Brian Kanes in the world, the world would be a better place, and so would the Air Force.”