Garrett Williams, a junior and athlete at Pinckneyville Community High School in Illinois, died Saturday, September 10, as a result of injuries sustained in car accident after he lost control of the vehicle on a dirt road not far from the location of a birthday party he was attending. He was 16.
Garrett played on the school’s baseball team and was also a wrestler. He is survived by his girlfriend, Emmalee Chaney, and by his mom, Lorie Sanders, her husband, David, and by his father, Larry Andrew Williams.
According to a Facebook post, a community breakfast Sunday will help to raise funds for a bench in Pinckneyville’s dugout with Garrett’s name on it. “He will forever be connected with Pinckneyville Baseball,” his father wrote.
Keith Hagene, superintendent of schools at the one-high-school district in Southern Illinois, described the community as “arm-in-arm.” The school remembered Garrett in a memorial in the stadium on September 13, and he said, “We have to love these kids: If a student throws his arms up and needs a hug, you hug ’em. … Tuesday’s service will leave no doubt.”
The cause of the accident was not immediately reported, but no other vehicles were involved, according to a report on WSIL-TV (ABC affiliate). Garrett was reportedly pinned under his vehicle, which had rolled over.
The service at the school, which included members of Garrett’s church family at St Bruno Catholic Church, “will show everyone what this school is made of,” Mr Hagene was quoted as saying. “We are the PCHS Family.”
Students were encouraged to wear camouflage in honor of their classmate, who enjoyed outdoor activities, such as hunting and mudding, according to his Facebook timeline.
What matters most, on this late summer day, is not how Garrett died or how young he was, although these are the factoids news services report when a student dies unexpectedly. What matters at this point is that God granted enough time for him to love people and for them to love him back. Our prayers go out to the close community of Pinckneyville and to Garrett’s loved ones.