This I Believe

Zack - wichita, Kansas
Entered on November 28, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Fragility of Human Life

Over the past few months several traumatic events unfolded that drastically changed my high school life. These moments spark my belief in the fragility of human life.

On September 24, 2006 I volunteered to work at a water aid station that my mom organized. This race was a big event because it was part of a series of races that climax at the Wichita Marathon. One of the runners was the Cross Country and Track coach from Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, a local Wichita high school. Out to support their coach, were several members of the Bishop Carroll Cross Country team also volunteered. One of the boys, a blonde, curly-haired senior named John Rice stood out for his goofy sense of humor and ability of keeping everyone entertained during dull moments in the race when no runners needed our assistance.

A little over a month later while watching the evening news, a “breaking story” came on the screen about a small plane crash involving three Bishop Carroll students and one father. Although I originally thought about the well-being of the girls I met during the race, I also worried about John. The story on the news did not include names of the victims but said that the 18 year old pilot and his father died in the crash but the other two lived in serious condition at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The next day I found out that John Rice was in the backseat of that plane and survived with two crushed legs and a broken jaw after being pinned under the front seat for several hours. The other survivor’s cell phone helped lead a helicopter to them after their wreck. When John made it back to Wichita, he immediately got swarmed by family and friends when he went to watch his team play for a chance to go to the state football game. John sat on a couch on the sideline and when the game finished, John received one of the game balls while surrounded by members of his cross country team, friends, school, and family.

John Rice showed me how unpredictable life is and how lives can change from one moment to the next. John made me believe in the fragility of human life.