By now most of you know that Travis Starr of Martinez died last week from head injuries he received when he was thrown from the bed of a pickup truck driven by one of his friends.
Couple that death with the tragedy involving Greenbrier High School golfers Daniel Hall and Shane Williams, and the traffic accident that claimed Harlem Middle School's Andrew Hawkinberry, and it's almost too much to bear.
Starr was a Lakeside High School graduate and a member of the golf team. Andrew was the younger brother of Michael Hawkinberry, a senior multi-sport athlete at Harlem High School.
Sports connect those four traffic deaths, but prep competition just doesn't seem significant right now.
The bottom line is that during this current school year, too many young people from Columbia County have left us far too soon.
It's difficult to comprehend what the grieving families are going through, and besides the memories, they have this for comfort: their children were loved by friends and family.
The outpouring of support at Greenbrier has been astounding. Daniel and Shane made a mark at their school, and are sorely missed.
Also, to the parents of all the lost loved ones, know this: your community is here for you. Even in a world filled with apathy, in a time of tragedy, people will rally in support, and that certainly is true in Columbia County.
I did not know any of these young men who have died. I did, however, go to school with one of Travis Starr's sisters. I haven't talked to her in years, but I still consider her a friend, and my heart goes out to her and the entire Starr family.
There really aren't any "right" words to say in a situation like this. The things that are said inwardly, in our thoughts and prayers, sometimes don't seem like enough.
No one has the answers, but any kind words are beneficial, and a thoughtful letter is appreciated.
Finding the right words isn't easy, but the real burden is on the parents who have lost their children.
Though we may not know the perfect words of the appropriate gesture, give them all the support you can. In some way, that will help them deal with the loss, and it will keep the happy memories alive.
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