Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Tribute to Jeff

This past wed. evening Kory and I received one of those telephone calls you never want to get. Kory's nephew Jeff Ashby Wood had passed away earlier that evening. Jeff was born May 12, 1994. He recently celebrated his 15th birthday, he received his Eagle Award just last month. That wed. afternoon he and his Dad, Jim Wood (principal of Valley Highschool) headed to Orderville. Dad had some meetings to attend and Jeff had his 2nd day of Baseball practice. Before practice began Jeff started complaining that his side ached. During practice he spent some time in the dug out due to this ache. Nearing the end of practice he decided to go out with the team for what little time was left. A ball was thrown to Jeff, he missed and it hit his side. He immediately fell to the ground. The ball was thrown by one of Jeff's coach's who is also a Respitory Therapist. This coach was at Jeff's side within 30 seconds. CPR was started immediately. Jim (besides being the principal is also an EMT) was notified and was able to ride in the ambulence with Jeff to the Kanab hospital. According to the coach, with his medical background he thinks Jeff may have already been gone before the ball hit him and that is why he missed the ball. An autopsy has been done. We do know that the ball did not take Jeff's life. Apparently the results can not be given over the phone but will be mailed to the family. As of now we are still waiting on the report. It's been incredible to see how fast Jeff's story has spread. This story has been heard on the news and in newspapers all over Utah. A client of ours called Kory yesterday and said he heard about Jeff on the news while in Yuma, Arizona. An hour after Jeff's death it was being spread through facebook. Jim was thankful he was able to tell rest of the children before they heard it via facebook of someone else. The above picture was taken almost 2 years ago. This is one of Heather's (Jeff's mom) favorites. She never really noticed that Jeff was a part from his siblings, how Jeff is looking back at his siblings who are all looking at the camera. She say's it's as if Jeff is looking over the other kids. Kory and I left Saturday afternoon. Jeff's viewing was sunday after church and his funeral took place on Monday at noon. Saturday evening and Sunday morning I was collecting different pictures of Jeff from different people and created a DVD in Jeff's memory. I wanted to post it but I used a program on someone else's computer that my computer doesn't have so I won't be able to post it.

I learned a lot about Jeff this past weekend. I wish we could have lived closer, that I could have known Jeff like others did. Jeff was a cowboy at heart. Jeff had a love, love, love for big trucks and heavy equipment (backhoes, etc.), most anything with a motor in it. He loved to farm, he loved the animals, the plowing and of course the heavy equipment he was able to use. He loved to serve. We were told that Jeff helped the ward/town in many of the service projects that were performed. He helped plan a lot of them, he was always the 1st one there and the last to leave. Kids were attracted to Jeff. I had many pictures of Jeff being in the center, surrounded by his younger cousins and other children around town. Jeff was at our house just a few weeks ago. Hunter followed him around like a little puppy dog. They played in the sandbox together, they swung on our swingset together. They played catch in our backyard. Jeff even sat by Hunter in his bedroom and played cars with him. Hunter had a blast with his cousin. Jeff of course also loved baseball. Jeff was loved by all.
I was absolutely amazed with how the town of Alton and surrounding small towns came together during this time of need for our family. Since Jeff's death, meals were been brought in. Not just to Jim and Heather but to others in the family. On Sunday the ward provided dinner at the church for all of us. Sunday evening during the viewing a nursery was held for the children. A nursery was also held Monday during the 2nd viewing and all through the funeral. It was so nice that my children had a place to go during these times. Another luncheon was provided for all of us after the cemetary services. So much service was provided for our family during this time of need. It was very much appreciated.
This past week has been quite emotional for both Kory and I. It's been a week now and there are still moments that this seems so sureal. It's hard to believe that Jeff is no longer with us. I am thankful that my parents raised me in the church. I am thankful for the testimony that I have of the atonement and eternal families. I know that we will see Jeff again. Jeff's parents were married in the temple. They are an eternal family. Jeff may not be with us right now but not for forever. Jim and Heather will be together with there son again. I know Jim and Heather are suffering as any parent would. I also know that they will get through this trying period in their lives. We love you Jim and Heather.


Camille said...

oh that is just so sad. He does sound like a great kid!! I guess it was just his time and he is serving the Lord now on the other side. I hope the Lord continues to bless his family through this tuff time!