On August 16, 1985, I was returning home with my church group from a youth trip to Bath, NY and Niagara Falls! We had a lot of fun on this trip, and were expecting an easy ride home. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. While travelling in the state of Pennsylvania in a drizzling rain, a tractor trailer hauling live chickens jack knifed and hit our church van! Our van rolled three times, and when it came to rest, three people out of the 11 in the group were dead. One of the youth members, Tony A, a chaperon, Joyce B, and our pastor, Brother Mike, were killed. The other eight of us were injured! Physical injuries heal, but the memories remain. That day, people lost loved ones. My brother and I were injured, but we both made it out with our lives. Brother Mike was a married father of two, and was not only my father's best friend, he was the closest thing I ever had to a big brother. He is on my mind today, as are the other members of our group. My heart still grieves for our loss, the loss of loved ones, loss of health, and the loss of innocence. I was never quite the same after that trip, but I understand that things happen, and that Mike would not want me to doubt God.
I did stray away a little after that, but quickly came back into the fold. Today I am thankful for everything Brother Mike taught me, and for the short period of time he was in my life. No matter what, although I miss him being here, I know that I will see him again! Of that fact, I am most thankful.