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“Someone once said that at the end of life, what really matters is not what we bought, but what we shared.”

Those were the words that Anthony Watson, engineering field technician at DTE, spoke to memorialize the late Eric Dubke, who passed away due to COVID-19 in March 2020. And it’s those words that help beautifully tell the story of who Eric was in the eyes of those around him.

Eric Dubke will be a familiar name to a lot of DTE employees who read this story. He was a lifelong DTE team member that was loved and respected by everyone he worked with. Most of all, he was a husband, a father, a brother, and a son. He was kind, understanding, and generous to everyone he came across. And everyone who knew him has a favorite example of how they were impacted by Eric’s compassion.

“I remember Eric was very proud of his daughter who was part of the Gibraltar High School rowing team, and he made it a point to be at her rowing events, going so far as to haul the team’s boats to the meets,” said David Fischer, senior engineer at DTE. “That’s a small example of the countless acts of kindness that Eric would do for friends and family.”

Eric Dubke and his daughter.

The lasting impact Eric left on Anthony and his other coworkers won’t soon fade, but as many of Eric’s colleagues emphasized, it’s the hundreds of other people that benefited from knowing Eric that demonstrates just how special of a person he was.

There is no greater example of his commitment to helping others than his work with the Loving Arms for Liberia.

Loving Arms for Liberia is a non-profit organization based in the City of Detroit. Its mission is to help rebuild Liberia, a west African country, from the aftermath of recent civil wars, the Ebola virus, and COVID-19 outbreaks. The group aims to provide resources for all Liberians to be able to grow, learn and thrive.

Eric became involved with the non-profit through his friendship with Anthony, and Eric made a lasting impression on everyone involved with the organization. He provided financial donations that helped build a new student learning resource center in Liberia. After opening earlier this year, this center enables students, who lack the necessary technology, to get a proper education. He also helped source school supplies and meals for 250 students and was able to get 20 of those students’ bikes.

But that was just a mere fraction of his impact.

Eric also volunteered countless hours to Loving Arms for Liberia from his first involvement in Dec. 2018 up until he passed away in 2020. He was generous with donations, packed and moved boxes, and even used his personal vehicle to transport items. Most of all, he built relationships with the organizers and the children he was helping.

“For all of those gestures, I along with Loving Arms for Liberia are eternally gratefully to Eric for all he did for those children in Liberia,” Anthony said. “He took on those children that were victimized by a brutal civil war and the dreadful Ebola virus as his own. He did everything he could to make sure those children did not go hungry.”

Eric’s passion and dedication will continue to be felt by all those involved for years to come.

“There are special people in our lives that never leave us even after they are gone,” Anthony said. “Eric was just one of those people.”

Anthony had one final message to say to his late friend.

“Thank you, Eric, for your contribution to humanity,” Anthony said. “May your soul rest in paradise until we meet again.”

If you’re interested in getting involved with Loving Arms for Libera, contact visit http://lovingarmsforliberia.com/. Special thanks to DTE employees, DTE’s REACH organization, and local 223 AFLCIO for their ongoing support of Loving Arms for Liberia.