Thursday, March 22, 2012

In Memory of Collin Barton

Early Sunday morning a 16 year old boy, Collin Barton, went missing from our community. His body was found on Tuesday afternoon, he had been hit by a car while walking home. While I don't know the Barton family, we share common friends and via Facebook I was one of the many who received frantic posts from his father Sean Barton, as the search for Collin continued.
The Barton family received a lot of support from far and near who did what they could to help find Collin. Many worried folks searched desperately and everyone of our hearts broke when we learned of his loss.

 Sean Barton wrote an open letter to the community in hopes of reaching out to young people and making a difference for others. It is a true testament to Collin's memory that his family chose to offer comfort  during their darkest days of grief.
Below, is the statement issued by Mr. Barton... it is  an urgent plea to young people everywhere... to Collin's friends and classmates, to please slow down. Please slow down and then stop. Think things through. Then continue and make considerate decisions because these decisions matter.

Life is not without tragedy and we all know this. Some tragedies are easier to accept than others. This is one of those tragedies that is seemingly impossible to accept. We are struggling with how to move forward. The only thing that is keeping us going is our responsibility to each other as a family. We are very private people, especially in our grief. But we also feel a responsibility to our family, friends and community. We are making a statement in the hope to make a difference for others and gain something positive, to make a difference, even to one person.
To all of Collin's friends, especially those who were with him his last weekend, it is okay to be sad, but it is not okay to feel guilty. We are all feeling it, what could we have done differently? This question haunts us all.
The number of things and decisions that had to line up in the last 24 hours of Collin's life for this to happen seem impossible, but they did.

We all have to make thousands of decisions everyday. You cannot predict which one will end badly.

What you can do? What I am asking you to do, is consider your decisions in a different way. Think about the outcome, what may or may not happen. Think beyond, is this fun or not? Think beyond what you would want to do and consider what is safe and what your parents would want you to do. And if you need to call home, call home, no matter what you have done or what time it is.

One thing we always tell our kids is never go anywhere alone. This is an important rule. Follow it.

Don't be so afraid to tell your parents the truth and to follow the rules. Your life may depend on it.

Please, parents, talk to your kids. Kids talk to your parents. Be strong, parents, don't be afraid to say no to your kids. Kids, don't be afraid to say no to your friends.

The outpouring of help and support we had searching for Collin was staggering and we thank each and everyone of you. From officials, to the media, our friends, family and even complete strangers. My family thanks you.

If you feel compelled to memorialize Collin's life, please do so with a contribution to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or the charity of your choice.

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