Celebrate the Living

Madison - West Bountiful, Utah
Entered on November 17, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Monday, November 3, 2008 our phone rang at 4:15 a.m. My mom came bursting into my room shortly after and informed me that my brother-in-law, Charlie had been in an accident. He was a North Salt Lake officer and had been dispatched to assist with a high speed chase of a stolen vehicle. He took a curve too wide, over corrected and crashed into a large cement and steel business sign at speeds of approximately 70 mph. My parents went to inform my sister, Katy his wife of only two and a half years, of the accident.

When he arrived at the hospital doctors determined that Charlie had suffered severe head trauma and his brain had begun to swell. They had him on medication to try to reduce the swelling and were monitoring the pressure. All we could do was wait and pray. Officers from all around arrived at the hospital that week to show their support.

The morning of November 7 the doctors informed us they would need to preform surgery. A few hours later the doctor came out of surgery. The news was grim. The damage was worse then they ever imagined. They lost Charlie on the operating table and he was now on life support. They told us he no longer had enough brain function to pull him out of a vegetative state. Katy was devastated, but made the decision to take him off life support.

Charlie loved being a police officer. He lived to serve and protect our community, and he died a hero. Charlie left behind newborn twins, Zackary and Emma, who turned one month old on November 11, 2008, four days after the death of their father. My sister is only twenty-three years old. I can’t imagine losing a husband so young. I don’t believe the pain our family feels will ever go away. We’ll just learn to live with it every day. This was a great loss not only for our family, but for the law enforcement family, for the community. There were hundreds of people at Charlie’s funeral. Officers from all over the nation came to pay their respects to a Fallen Officer, a great man, and a hero. It was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen and something I will never forget.

I believe your life can change in a single second. I believe you should never hesitate to tell someone you love them. I believe you should try the best you can to live your life with no regrets. I believe we need to remember the deceased and honor them, but above all I believe we need to celebrate those who are living, while we still have the chance.