To all of my LLCC family:
On Nov. 16, my life was turned upside down and changed forever when my daughter Jenna, her best friend Holly, and Jenna’s paternal grandparents, Bill and Jackie, were taken in an automobile crash in Montgomery County. The past two weeks have been a nightmare, and it’s one that I can’t wake up from.
The only thing making this better is the acts of kindness shown to me and my family.
Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough. I probably won’t ever get around to preparing thank you notes, so I hope this reaches all of those who’ve helped out in some way. The flowers, visits, cards, meals, gift cards, emails, gifts, memorials, monetary donations and so many more acts of kindness have been incredible. And I am so appreciative to all of you who made the trip to Vandalia and/or to Jenna’s Springfield Celebration of Life. So many members of the LLCC faculty and staff have been so kind, and most I don’t even know. I appreciate you all. If you ever got to be around Jenna, you were the luckiest of all.
Claire Gordon, professor of communication, you have truly been my angel for coordinating the effort to see to it my students in all eight classes were taken care of. Thank you also to all those who have filled in for me. It hasn’t been an easy task I’m sure.
Jenna loved coming with me to campus. She loved the summer sports camps and kids college. She especially loved her cooking classes, and the recipe she learned here for homemade salsa was one of her favorites. I had hoped she would come here for two years and play basketball or volleyball or both. I had hoped she could learn from Tara Walk and Randy Rue since she had planned to study crime scene investigations and hoped to be a forensic pathologist. So many hopes.
And Tara Walk, thank you. You helped start the roadside memorial for me. It’s something I couldn’t begin, and you said yes when I asked for help. Thank you.
If you are all the praying kind or could simply send the most awesome of good vibes, we will take them. Holly’s family needs them. Holly was the youngest of three children and her family is devastated. Jenna’s dad Randy needs them. He’s lost his daughter and his parents. Our daughter Brandy needs them. She is headed back to her graduate physician’s assistant program today at the University of Dayton. She has three tests to take this week to keep on track. She begins clinical rotations in January. She’s lost her little sis and her grandparents. My heart aches for her.
And then there’s me. I feel like my role in everything that’s happened in my life has been the caregiver and the helper. I’m the one trying to fix things for everyone. I can’t fix this. But I know that all of your prayers and good vibes have kept us all going the last two weeks. Thank you for everything.
In honor of Jenna, would you please be kind to everyone? Say I love you. Mend broken relationships. Give hugs. Don’t take anyone for granted. Live with intention. Don’t waste a day. And above all, choose to say nothing but words that are loving and full of kindness.
I will end this with Jenna’s own words that she submitted in her last assignment for a class. It was a project about herself.
“It is important for people to show their appreciation for others’ good deeds because people should be appreciated every once in a while for being good to the community.”
Brenda Baptist Protz, professor of communication