11/30/05 — A comfort: Accident victims’ classmates provide lesson in compassion

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A comfort: Accident victims’ classmates provide lesson in compassion

Teenagers are not known for their sensitivity.

And teenage boys, especially, don’t usually allow themselves to show their softer side.

And that is part of the reason what Greenwood Middle School students Conner Childers, Justin Bucher and Drake Pieper did for their injured classmates Mackenzie Wessels and Carson Thomas was so special.

These young men wanted to make sure that their classmates and their community remembered their friends, and set about finding ways to make sure that happened.

And it all started with a few sweatshirts and some iron-on letters — simple messages of hope and friendship.

Their compassion caught on, spawning all sorts of remembrances and other tributes to Carson and to Mack, as they call him. Students at the school wrote letters, poems and drew pictures to send to their classmates, just to be sure that the boys and their families knew they were on the minds of everyone at Greenwood.

Recently, Conner and Justin made a visit to the hospital where Carson is still battling after the accident that nearly claimed his life. Although they couldn’t see their friend, they were able to comfort Carson’s family.

And what a comfort they must have been for parents who weren’t sure what the next few days were going to bring for their teenager.

These young men should be commended for not only their compassion, but their determination to make sure no one ever forgets that there are people behind the names that accompany reports of this case.

They have helped introduce their friends to people who might not have known them otherwise — and in the process, offered a hand to Carson and Mackenzie’s families as they struggle to deal with the aftermath of this tragedy.

Conner, Justin and Drake’s parents should be very proud of the kind of young men they have raised.

The Greenwood Middle School community should be proud, too, of how they have rallied around these boys and their families. The strength and unity they have showed will make it all that much easier when their friends return home.

And Greenwood Middle School is not the only place there are people thinking of the two boys. Wayne County is celebrating the fact that Mackenzie is now recuperating at home, while we are all hoping Carson will join him on the convalesence list soon.

That would be the best possible end to this story.

Published in Editorials on November 30, 2005 11:02 AM